The legacy of Larry Kramer’s AIDS activism is in the US’s response to coronavirus

Larry Kramer, America’s most prominent AIDS activist, died yesterday of pneumonia. 

There is symbolism in the timing. Kramer was indispensable in his calling out the American government’s inaction as HIV spread through the US (and the world), in demanding research for a treatment, and then making those treatments available. It seems somewhat ironic that he died in the middle of another plague, as he labeled both AIDS and Covid-19. 

Kramer, a playwright and author, was a founder of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), and had an unforgiving approach to activism and campaigning. He accused officials of murder and genocide because of their delay in declaring a health emergency, often calling out—as the face of the government response to that epidemic—the very Anthony Fauci who is the face of today’s epidemic. 

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