In this news paper clipping, taken from the GSU Archives, a man is writing to Ann Landers. He begins the letter by saying “Dear Ann Landers, I am a gay male. For this reason I have taken a special interest in finding out all I can about AIDS”. He goes on to explain the way in which AIDS has affected him directly, as apart of the gay community. The vast media coverage caused the general population to see AIDS as the “Gay Plague”. In this, he expresses the way that his family suddenly alienated him due to the sudden outbreak and disruption of the gay community. As a result, he’d been told not to come around the family until more is discovered of the disease. This truly hurt him as he was very close to his nieces – loving them as his own.
In response, Ann Landers explains the destructiveness of ignorance. She goes on to describe the symptoms that come with AIDS, as well as the fact that it is only spread through bodily fluids – not direct contact. Many believed that they could be struck with the illness after coming into contact with someone infected, but that was far from the case.
This newspaper post/article was published in the Atlantic Journal on August 8, 1983. At this time, AIDS was fairly new, and many people reacted hysterically due to generalizations and misinformation. What this unnamed young man expressed is a feeling that many went through during this time. As if being gay wasn’t taboo enough, the additional scorn that AIDS brought affected the emotional stability of many.
As an artifact, this newspaper clipping allows for the reader (myself) to see things from a present-day point of view. The authenticity of the emotions written on the paper gives one the understanding that this was something that actually occurred. It’s easier to sympathize with, seeing as it was published on a specific date, and not something read on a website or from word of mouth. After conducting further research, I infer that the newspaper is an Atlanta based paper. It could have also been published in a Atlantic Journal magazine based in Boston, Massachusetts.