New York Times’ Lawrence Altman Recounts 20 Years of HIV/AIDS Reporting
On the 20th anniversary of the day his first article on the disease that became known as AIDS ran in the New York Times, medical correspondent Lawrence Altman recounts 20 years of covering the disease in a Times health section piece. Since he first reported on a "rare cancer" seen in 41 homosexual men in New York City, Altman has written more than 500 articles about the disease, chronicling the early "arrogan[ce]" of doctors who denied that AIDS could be caused by an unknown virus, the "poorly prepared" medical system's struggle to keep up with the disease, the medical community's lack of early communication about the disease with the public and activists' attempts to get the media to pay more than "scant attention" to the new "public health emergency." He also recounts the denial and "ang[er]" he saw when first reporting on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Altman concludes that last week's U.N. General Assembly special session on HIV/AIDS marked the "growing realization that the joining of scientific skill and political will holds the best promise" for controlling HIV/AIDS. Altman's entire report is available online (Altman, New York Times, 7/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.