chapter  19
14 Pages

AIDS: Seventh R ank Absolute

ByRobert Fulton, Greg Owen

Images o f what threatens to be a major hum an catastrophe were presented to the Am erican public in 1986 in the form o f a two hour PBS “Frontline” docu­ m entary entitled, “AIDS.” It featured a cinema verite presentation o f the life o f an afflicted black, male, homosexual prostitu te-Fabian Bridges. T he p ro ­ gram offered the viewer a microcosm of the world within which Fabian found himself, that is, a medical establishm ent confronted with a new, lethal disease for which there is no known cure or vaccine; a public health service th rea t­ ened with being overwhelm ed by AIDS patients; legislators pulled in d if­ feren t ways by their constituents to respond to the epidemic; and an em bat­ tled hom osexual com m unity aware that its m em bers curren tly rep resen t m ore than two-thirds o f all AIDS patients.