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During the U.S. presidential campaign of 1988, AIDS protesters declare the “guilt” of various politicians they believe have neglected the epidemic. From front to back are photos of Republican presidential nominee George Bush, then vice president; Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, then governor of Massachusetts; William Bennett, secretary of education in the administration of President Ronald Reagan; and Republican senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

AIDS policy has evolved at every level of government across the United States, including federal, state, county, and municipal offices. Although most policy makers emphasize public health issues, some have focused on sexuality and gay rights.