The Arts’ Influence on the AIDS Epidemic: Conclusion

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program in 2015 served more than 50% of people living with diagnosed HIV in the U.S.
Image from Health Resources & Services Administration

The artistic movement created in response to the AIDS epidemic has had a large impact on the public’s view of the disease. When the disease was first discovered in 1981, it was largely ignored by the general public. The disease was thought to be mostly affecting the gay males. The gay community was still fighting for acceptance at the time, so the public tended to neglect the disease. The death of many artists and the neglect from most of society led to an artistic response in the form of a new movement dedicated to memorializing those that had died of AIDS and bringing awareness to the general public about the devastating effects of the disease. This new artistic movement created art that connected with the people of the United States and led more recognition of the disease. Government programs were created to help those in need of treatment that could not afford it, such as the Ryan White HIV/AIDS CARE Act. Artists played an important role in making progress in addressing the AIDS epidemic.

U.S. Army Propaganda Poster (1916), Image From Canva

On a larger scale, the arts have always had an influence on the progression of societies. People respond to the messages conveyed in artistic creations. For example, the “I Want You” poster created by the U.S. military in 1916 compelled many men to join the Army to fight in World War I (Jordan, 50 Powerful Examples Of Visual Propaganda And The Meanings Behind Them). Another example would be artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael in the Renaissance period. They painted many Christian images, often times to decorate cathedrals. Christianity was the main religion in Europe at the time, and these artists undoubtedly influenced the societies in which they lived. A modern day example would be the Grateful Dead and its influence on what would become known as the Hippie movement. The band’s lyrical content and the way they behaved greatly influenced the actions of its listeners. The art’s influence on society is undeniable; therefore artists have a great power of persuasion. Artists should be conscious of this and continue to create art that progresses society in a positive direction.