Ryan White

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Ryan White | 1989 | Unknown photographer | 14400

Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and his return to school was blocked. White’s funeral was attended by 1,500 people including Elton John, who sang a tribute. White inspired Elton John to set up his Foundation.

White was one of the few highly visible people with AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s who helped change the public perception of the disease. His name is given to the Ryan White Care Act which is the United States’ largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS and funds programs to improve availability of care for low-income, uninsured and under-insured victims of AIDS and their families.


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