AIDS is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors. As of 2009, it is estimated that there are 33.3 million people worldwide infected with HIV. However, the majority of people with the virus don’t know they have it. For this reason, major inaccuracies exist in certain statistics. Millions of people die from AIDS-related diseases every year. The disease is devastating Africa. The continent is home to about 14.5% of the world’s population and 72% of all AIDS deaths in 2009.
In many areas of the world, the AIDS virus has become associated with the gay community. This is because a large percentage of notable people who have died from AIDS were homosexual. The link between being gay and AIDS is not well understood. In 1969, an American teenager from Missouri named Robert R. became the earliest confirmed victim of AIDS. It remains unclear how Robert got the virus. The first person known to have contracted HIV and died outside of the United States is Arvid Noe.
Since the spread of AIDS, hundreds of famous people have died from the disease. This article will examine ten notable cases (and, in time, will be followed up by a second list of ten). Everyone listed had an established and notable career before getting HIV. They were not made famous by the disease, like many activists that died during the 1980s and 1990s. For example, a woman named Kimberly Bergalis was the first person to get HIV from a clinical transmission. She received the virus from her dentist.
Some notable people not included are broadcast journalist Max Robinson, disco singer Sylvester, choreographer Alvin Ailey, French philosopher Michel Foucault, fashion icon Tina Chow, designer Willi Smith, Italian writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli, CEO of Hasbro Stephen D. Hassenfeld, French writer Jean-Paul Aron, and Spanish poet Jaime Gil de Biedma.
In 1958, Keith Haring was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. He achieved his first public attention with chalk drawings in the subways of New York. To make his art recognizable, Haring used a Radiant Baby symbol. He used bold lines, vivid colors, and active figures to carry strong messages of life and unity. In 1985, Keith started to paint canvas. He made an appearance on MTV in November 1985 and painted the set during a show hosted by his friend, keyboardist Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. In 1986, Haring painted murals in Amsterdam, Paris, and Phoenix. He was also asked to paint a 350 foot mural on the Berlin Wall at Brandenburg Gate.
Keith Haring spoke about his work on the Berlin Wall. “I decided on a subject, which is a continuous interlocking chain of human figures, who are connected at their hands and feet. The chain represents the unity of people against the idea of the wall. I painted in the colors of the German flag, black, red and yellow.”
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