November 1996
[AIDS]
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["Holy

1990

There are 2794 AIDS cases in the state. Sixty-one percent are gay.

In January, Governor Dukakis unveils his fiscal 1991 budget, and it contains no cuts in AIDS monies. It is the only line item in the Department of Public Health's budget not to be cut.

Fifty ACT UP demonstrators assemble in front of the Harvard School of Medicine to protest the design of clinical trials.

Heart Strings, a Broadway-style musical production touring country with a message of hope about AIDS, comes to the Opera House and raises $250,000 for AIDS efforts. Christopher Reeve attends.

ACT UP holds a "die-in" at Deaconess Hospital to call attention to Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalophy (PML) and the fact that approved drugs such as alpha and beta interferon, acyclovir, and heparin are effective against PML but not used because they aren't approved for that purpose. Fifty people attend.

["Holy Longtime Companion is released nationally in May.

AIDS activist and ACT UP member Warren Blumenfeld outs lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Evelyn Murphy in June during a live taping of WBZ's People Are Talking. He says that her opposition to condom distribution and needle exchange is "scurrilous." Murphy, in fact, is in favor of condom distribution; Blumenfeld later apologizes publicly.

Seven hundred people organized by ACT UP, the Reproductive Rights Network, and the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights protest Cardinal Law's stance on safe-sex education and reproductive rights during a service to ordain 11 priests at the Holy Cross Cathedral in the South End. One person is arrested.

The late Peter Medoff, Matt Thall, and Todd Summers found AIDS Housing Corp. in October.

The Medical Information Bureau in Westwood closes at noon after ACT UP chapters around the country jam MIB's phone lines in protest of MIB's extensive health-insurance database, which contains information on over 12 million people, including information on "sexual deviation."

In November, less than a day after winning the election, William Weld's first official act as governor is to attend the dedication of Seton Manor in Brighton, a residence for people with AIDS.

ACT UP halts MBTA Green Line service and traffic in front of Harvard School of Public Health on Huntington Avenue to press the federal government into approving two new AIDS drugs, ddC and ddI.

AIDS activists sing "homeless carols" during a December appearance by Mayor Flynn at Jordan Marsh to protest homelessness among people with AIDS.

Flynn announces the formation of a task force on housing for people with AIDS.

1991

There are 3661 AIDS cases in the state. Fifty-nine percent are gay.

The state's first storefront needle-exchange operation, operated illegally by the National AIDS Brigade, opens in Mission Hill.

Citing his obligation to uphold state law that bans possession of a hypodermic needle without a prescription, Mayor Flynn shuts down the National AIDS Brigade's program in February.

["State ACT UP/Boston litters the State House with hundreds of pennies in response to Governor Weld's proposed "penny-wise, pound-foolish" revisions of Medicaid programs.

Adam Rosenthal sues Harvard Community Health Plan when the HMO terminates his coverage soon after he tests HIV-positive.

Because of a US ban on travel and immigration for people with HIV, Harvard University refuses in August to host the world's largest AIDS conference, embarrassing the US government.

In September, a coalition of legislators, public-health officials, and activists step up its fight to repeal the law that makes operating a needle exchange a crime in Massachusetts.

ACT UP activist Michael Cronin, who is openly HIV-positive, announces his candidacy for city council against conservative Jim Kelly, of South Boston.

Falmouth becomes the state's second community in October to approve condom distribution to students.

Superstar Los Angeles Laker Earvin "Magic" Johnson announces that he is HIV-positive. The next day, Boston's AIDS service organizations and clinics are swamped with calls from people who want to be tested.

After a dispute over AIDS-prevention education, Catholic Charities of Massachusetts bars condoms from its St. Patrick's Shelter for Homeless Women, in Somerville, halts plans for an AIDS-education program that will include discussion of condom use, and fires the shelter's director.

In December, Boston's Justice Research Institute starts its street outreach to sex workers and young people who weren't exposed to AIDS prevention messages.

Worried about the cost of their health care -- especially if they are exposed to HIV, 500 members of the state's nurses union picket Brigham and Women's Hospital to demand that contracts specify that nurses infected on the job can receive free treatment.

1992

There are 4634 AIDS cases in the state. Fifty-seven percent are gay.

In January, Governor William Weld endorses a plan by the state Department of Public Health for needle exchanges.

The city's public-health chief, Judith Kurland, backs condom availability in Boston high schools in February.

The Archdiocese of Boston confirms that, for three years, it has required routine HIV testing of potential nuns and priests. Church officials defend the policy as a reasonable way to keep medical costs down, but critics say it may be a way to keep gay men from becoming priests.

Two dozen AIDS activists trying to distribute clean needles to addicts near Boston City Hospital are confronted in a heated outburst by community members who don't like the idea.

In April, former tennis star Arthur Ashe announces that he has full-blown AIDS, and says he thinks he contracted HIV during a blood transfusion received in 1983 when he underwent heart surgery.

Brigham and Women's Hospital nurses ratify a contract that guarantees them disability insurance if they are infected with HIV while on the job.

By an eight-to-four vote, the Boston City Council in August requires hundreds of bars and restaurants to install condom vending machines. Flynn vetoes the measure, saying that he disapproves of the measure's "message."

In September, three AAC ads promoting condom use are banned by the MBTA from appearing on the subways because they are "too provocative."

In November, the Boston City Council again passes an ordinance requiring restaurants and bars to install condom machines; Flynn vetoes it.

After being stalled for months in a sub-panel, a bill that would legalize needle-exchange programs in the interest of HIV prevention goes to the full State Senate. The bill is backed by AIDS activists and Governor Weld.

A grim new milestone in state statistics: 20 percent of all AIDS cases in Massachusetts are young adults who were infected as adolescents.

1993

There are 5541 AIDS cases in the state. Fifty-five percent are gay.

Lois Harrison-Jones, superintendent of Boston schools, and Judith Kurland, health and hospitals commissioner, have a nasty, public falling-out over their joint efforts to develop an AIDS-education program for Boston public schools.

In April, Michael Richmond, Gary Daffin, Steven Tierney, Ken Reeves, and others establish Men of Color Against AIDS.

AAC files charges against the AIDS Brigade, alleging that the needle-exchange group committed fraud, misrepresented facts, and illegally solicited money at the recent AAC pledge walk. The AIDS Brigade fires back in an interview with the Boston Globe, charging that members were shunned by AAC because they are drug users, not gay men.

In August, Governor Weld signs into law a bill allowing a pilot needle-exchange program in Massachusetts.

Suzi Landolphi's "Hot, Sexy and Safer" AIDS prevention show draws fire from the state's director of public-school AIDS-education programs after three students from Chelmsford High School sue Landolphi for shocking, outraging, and humiliating them.

In October, the MBTA rejects another round of AIDS-education ads from the AAC.

In November, David Allen and a business partner successfully open the Safari Club in a South End warehouse. Billed as a gay social club, the business is actually a sex club.

1994

Randy Shilts, the 42-year-old author of And the Band Played On, dies of AIDS at his home near San Francisco.

In September, HIV-positive Robert Massie, of Somerville, beats Representative Marc Draisen to win the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor. Massie, a minister and an ethics teacher who is married with two children, makes his struggles with hemophilia and HIV a key part of the campaign.

Saying the ads are too provocative, the MBTA once again balks at displaying AIDS-awareness ads from the AAC.

In November, after a month-long hospitalization, WBZ Radio talk-show host David Brudnoy holds a press conference with his doctors to acknowledge that he has been diagnosed with AIDS.

1995

There are 9736 AIDS cases in the state. Fifty percent are gay.

David Brudnoy returns to WBZ Radio and spends the first hour of his popular show discussing his battle with AIDS.

In February, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis discloses that he is HIV-positive.

In June, the state begins requiring health insurers that pay for prescriptions to cover any drugs identified as being effective in treating HIV and AIDS.

In July, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that making condoms available in public schools doesn't interfere with parental rights or religious freedom.

["Boston-New In September, 4000 bicyclists depart from Boston (in photo) to begin the Boston-New York AIDS Ride and raise $6 million for the Boston's Fenway Community Health Center and two agencies in New York.

David Scondras, president of Boston's Search for a Cure and former city councilor, is invited to a meeting of national AIDS activists hosted in December by President Clinton.

1996

As of April, there are 11,392 AIDS cases in the state. For the first time, the majority of them are heterosexuals; 48 percent are gay.

The attorney general's office takes out a restraining order against Marjorie Phillips, of Brockton, who maintains a Web site advertising an AIDS cure that can render people HIV negative in six weeks.

WBZ's David Brudnoy, near death just a year and a half earlier, announces in August that HIV is no longer detectable in his blood, thanks to the triple-drug "cocktail" of protease inhibitors he is taking.

Harvard University hosts an African-American leadership summit where some charge that prominent members of the community remain silent about AIDS even though it is the leading killer of black Americans between ages 25 and 44.

The Fenway Community Health Center, which saw Boston's first AIDS cases 15 years earlier, marks its 25th birthday with a fête at the Back Bay Hilton. Many Fenway staff members are optimistic about the recovering health of many of AIDS patients who are taking the triple-drug combination therapy. Gloria Gaynor sings her classic, "I Will Survive."


P R O F I L E S, Boston-area AIDS activists: Larry Kessler | Max Essex | Denise McWilliams |
Matt Florence | Ray Schmidt | Ken Mayer | Barbara Gomes-Beach | Brian Rosenberg

T I M E L I N E, 1981 - 1985 | 1986 - 1989 | 1990 - 1996 | The N A M E S | AIDS L I N K S


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