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How does coronavirus compare to other pandemics? Show more Show less

COVID-19 has been devastating, affecting people across the world and killing thousands. However, it is far from the first pandemic of its kind. From the Spanish flu to the bubonic plague, throughout history pandemics have killed huge amounts of the population. Is the coronavirus pandemic the worst in history? Or have previous pandemics been worse?

HIV/AIDS is the worst pandemic in history Show more Show less

The refusal of governments to acknowledge and assist in reducing the rate of infection of HIV/AIDs meant that millions died.
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HIV/AIDS was perpetuated because of homophobia

HIV/AIDS was made much worse by the homophobic rhetoric surrounding it, and the corresponding lack of government response.
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Context

The Argument

HIV/AIDS, unlike most other pandemics, was heavily politicised. In the US, the disease primarily affected gay men: by 1995, roughly one in ten gay men aged between 25 and 44 had died.[1] However, because of the disease's association with gay men, the disease was taken far less seriously by the Government. In fact, the US banned using public funds for AIDS prevention campaigns if they "[promoted] or [encouraged], directly or indirectly, homosexual activities," including encouraging the use of condoms.[2] The public attitude taken by the US government was that everyone was at risk of AIDS, so prevention campaigns were highly generalised. While this is technically true, it meant that gay communities did not get the funding or attention they really needed to fight the pandemic. The resistance the US government had to supporting AIDS victims and those at risk of infection led to thousands of deaths and infections, and exponentially increased the stigma AIDS victims lived (and continue to live) with. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is the only pandemic purposely ignored by governments because of homophobia, making it the worst pandemic in history on a social level.

Counter arguments

Framing

Premises

[P1] The HIV/AIDS pandemic was highly prevalent in gay men. [P2] The US government purposely perpetuated homophobic attitudes and did not take the proper steps to curb the pandemic, leading to thousands of deaths. [P3] The HIV/AIDS pandemic was the worst pandemic in history because it was purposely ignored by the government and decimated a marginalised population.

Rejecting the premises

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/blog/aids-epidemic-lasting-impact-gay-men
  2. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-confusing-and-at-times-counterproductive-1980s-response-to-the-aids-epidemic-180948611/
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020 at 15:10 UTC