Dr. Anthony Fauci reflected on the disproportionate toll that AIDS took on the gay community in remarks about how COVID-19 is similarly affecting the African-American community.
Fauci praised the gay community for “courage and dignity and strength and activism” in the face of stigmatization.
Fauci made the remarks, ironically, as VP Mike Pence looked on. Pence in 2000 said that he was in favor of sending money allocated to care for people with HIV/AIDS to organizations that provide conversion therapy.
Said Fauci at the White House press briefing: “I couldn’t help sitting there reflecting about sometimes when you’re in the middle of a crisis, like we are now with the coronavirus, it really does have… ultimately shine a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society. And as some of you know a greater proportion of my career has been defined by HIV/AIDS, and if you go back then during that period of time when there was extraordinary stigma particularly against the gay community. And it was only when the world realized how the gay community responded to this outbreak with incredible courage and dignity and strength and activism —I think that really changed some of the stigma against the gay community. Very much so. I see a similarity here because health disparities have always existed for the African-American community.”
“Here again with the crisis, how it’s shining a bright light on how unacceptable that is because, yet again, when you have a situation like the coronavirus, they are suffering disproportionately,” added Fauci. “As Dr. Birx said correctly, it’s not that they are getting infected more often, it’s that when they do get infected their underlying medical conditions — the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma — those are the kind of things that wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give him a higher death rate.”
“So when all this is over and, as we said, it will end, we will get over coronavirus,” Fauci concluded, “but there will still be health disparities which we really do need to address in the African American community.”