In the movie, "And the Band Played On" what were the stumbling blocks that prevented research on AIDS?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Just like Shilts' great work, the film does a stellar job in exploring how there were both economic and cultural/ political barriers that helped to stump research on AIDS.  The fact that government funding for most health endeavors were limited by the Regan Administration was one such stumbling block.  Yet, there was a distinct social and political attitude which sought to reduce research on the disease because it was perceived as a "Gay Disease," something that resonated with the right wing and fundamentalist agenda of the time period.  At the same time, some members of the community saw the efforts of Dr. Francis as being intrusive upon their lifestyle and way of life.  Dr. Francis experiences this from both sides with both small research space, lack of funds, and outdated equipment as well as resistance over his endeavors.  The idea of a scientist entering a domain where science and politics converge helps to bring about many of the stumbling blocks encountered in the early stages of AIDS research.

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