The memory of Ryan White lives on 25 years after his death, with the announcement of a $2.2 billion donation to the foundation named in his honor.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program netted a total of $2.2 billion over the course of the past year, which will be donated to people suffering from HIV and AIDS in the memory of a young man whose death created shockwaves in his community 25 years ago.
According to a report from Immortal News, Ryan White was booted out of his school in Indiana after local officials learned of his AIDS infection. He contracted the disease from a contaminated blood transfusion and wasn’t diagnosed until December 1984. Doctors estimated that he had about six months to live, but he survived an astonishing six years until 1990.
Ryan White was kicked out of his school due to the harsh social stigma carried by AIDS at the time. Fearing that he could put other students’ health at risk, school officials asked him to leave. The injustice of White’s situation became a main fighting point in the movement to address AIDS on a global scale.
Today, doctors believe that White would have posed no threat to other kids in school because of his disease. Despite the lack of risk, peoples’ ignorance of the disease compelled parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana to keep him from attending school. Kids accused White of threatening to spread his infection with blood and saliva, and a massive lawsuit erupted around the situation.
HIV and AIDS bore the inaccurate label of being a disease that only affected homosexual males, and White’s case was instrumental in breaking this stigma. 25 years after his death, his memory lives on and continues to raise funding and awareness for the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The Heath and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced earlier this week that the organization would donate $2.2 billion in grants for cities and towns across the country to support healthcare efforts for people affected by the disease, including access to medication and support services.
Burwell’s public statement about the $2.2 billion donation to the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program can be found here.