25.07.

1985: Rock Hudson Announces he has AIDS

1985: Rock Hudson Announces he has AIDS
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 25 July 1985
  • Rock Hudson was the most famous public figure who was diagnosed with AIDS at that time and his case very much contributed to raising public awareness about the disease. It is believed that Rock Hudson “gave AIDS a face”. Hudson’s official press release stated that the actor had contracted HIV through blood transfusion.

On this day the famous American actor Rock Hudson announced to the press that he had been diagnosed with AIDS.

This caused a great sensation, because AIDS was at that time (1985) a not well-known disease, and was mainly linked to homosexuals. Rock Hudson was the most famous public figure who was diagnosed with AIDS at that time and his case very much contributed to raising public awareness about the disease.

It is believed that Rock Hudson “gave AIDS a face”. Hudson’s official press release stated that the actor had contracted HIV through blood transfusion, but the American tabloids immediately began to speculate about his homosexuality.

Although it was never proven that Hudson was homosexual, it was discussed at so many occasions that it became generally accepted.

Hudson revealed he was suffering from AIDS in Paris, when he was already at an advanced stage and was seeking treatment options in Europe. He was already so weak that he had to be carried on a stretcher into a Boeing 747 in order to be transported back to America.

The only passengers on the plane besides him were his medical staff. He was treated at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for about a month, after which he was taken to his home in Beverly Hills, where he died in the autumn of the same year.

He died just a month-and-a-half before his 60th birthday. In the year after his death, donations for research and the fight against AIDS in the United States doubled.

The former American president Ronald Reagan was Hudson’s friend and, after the actor’s death, personally made sure that the United States made the fight against AIDS one of the national priorities.

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