On this day in 1990 (April 8th) Ryan White passed away from complications of AIDS.

Ryan White was only 18 years old when he died.

In his life and after his passing, Ryan became a symbol in the HIV/AIDS movement, a symbol of the AIDS epidemic that was obliterating the nation during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

“When the nation was still grappling with homophobia, unsubstantiated fears of how the virus was transmitted, and a great deal of prejudice towards a growing number of terribly sick individuals, Ryan White’s case became a national antidote.


During this period, Ryan served as an eloquent spokesman about AIDS to his classmates, journalists and, through the wide reach of television, the American public. He valiantly fought against a battalion of bigots who saw AIDS as some kind of divine retribution against gay men and intravenous drug users (two of the largest groups stricken with AIDS during this time).”

Upon his passing, President George H.W. Bush passed the Ryan White CARE Act in late summer 1990, which would bring care and treatment to people living with HIV.

Without this young boy’s strength, heroism, and activism, HIV care would not be where it is today.

We thank him, and remember him fondly.

#RyanWhite #EndAIDS #fightthestigma

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