5B Response

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    I thoroughly enjoyed this movie because it gave revealing insights on how aids patients were treated in the 1980s and how a San Fransisco ward revolutionized the treatment of aids patients. I found it very striking that the general public and families of aids patients even ostracized them, usually never visiting them in the hospital nor providing much-needed affection. This is very saddening because these patients were at their last stage of life, yet nobody showed them love or support except the kindhearted nurses in ward 5B. I felt enormous sympathy for the patients and I have the utmost respect for these nurses, as they showed compassion and empathy to the aids patients despite the negative views society placed upon them. Furthermore, I believe this cultural hatred towards aids patients was perpetuated by the homophobic nature of the 1980s. America has a culture that perceives being gay as morally wrong, thus people felt that aids patients deserved to suffer and were being punished by God through the manifestation of aids. The nurses took the indicative to show the public that you could come in close proximity to aids patients without being infected with aids. This revolutionary idea gave some relief to aids patients, however, homophobes still pressed the hospital for the wrongful care of aids patients. They claimed that the nurses were in danger since they came in close proximity with aids patients. However, I believe that this idea was popularized because of the perpetuated homophobic culture of America.


    I totally agree with you! It is such a good and heartbreaking film that really shows how much the nurses had to fight for the patients in order to just give them a little comfort at the end of their lives. It could have been such a world of difference if it was not branded the “Gay Disease” and made people feel like they could just not care about it because the people dying from it were gay and somehow “less than”. If it could have been funded from the beginning then so many people would not have died. It did not even get attention until “upstanding” people began to have it as well. This should not have happened because everyone deserves to get better and be treated as humans.


    I think it’s interesting how labels and rhetoric stall the progress of disease. If the AIDS patients had not been labelled as Gay and Homophobia, they may have received treatment faster. Instead, they were viewed as “less deserving”. Again, going back to Dr. Rivkin-Fish’s lecture, we see society excluding certain groups of people and which people count as the “in-group” vs “out-group” In the COVID-19 crisis, it’s the Chinese that are being ostracized and experiencing xenophobia. Additionally, the President’s rhetoric, the fact that he undermined the virus in its infancy stalled the progress of testing and saved lives. Recently, he touted that “if you drink disinfectant, you can prevent the coronavirus”, which led to a record number of poison control calls in the NYC area. Bottom line: Words Matter.

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