The AIDS Connection: Hour V

This tape is a broadcast from hour 5 of an historic live, all night, talk show that addressed various issues surrounding the AIDS crisis. It was a breakthrough for live TV via satellite as it had never been attempted to connect five locations via satellite, with live feeds to and from the CONUS/Hubbard Broadcasting studio in Minneapolis. No nationally televised long-form program about the AIDS epidemic had been on the air when this was produced. It was seen on more than 120 stations around the country and brought together top experts in the field in the early days of public awareness of AIDS. Each hour featured a panel of guests taking questions from the hosts, the studio audience members, and the audience members and panelists participating via satellite. This hour is split into two half-hour segments. The first segment focuses on the global AIDS crisis and AIDS outside of the U.S. The second segment focuses on AIDS and religion (mainly AIDS and Christianity). Each segment features a call-in survey related to the segment topic. Several public service announcements, usually featuring celebrities, were shown in each half hour.

00:00Copy video clip URL Tape opens in the middle of an anti-AIDS PSA. Followed by another PSA featuring Elizabeth McGovern.

00:55Copy video clip URL Program open. The AIDS Connection: An All-Night Dialogue.

01:19Copy video clip URL Beginning of the first segment, which covers the global dimensions of AIDS. John Hambrick and Renee Poussaint host and announce that we’ll be hearing from people around the country this evening.

02:24Copy video clip URL Footage of Ronald Reagan announcing that he has asked that AIDS be added to the list of contagious diseases potential immigrants to the United States cannot have. He is booed by the crowd.

02:45Copy video clip URL Clips from AIDS education campaigns around the world.

04:39Copy video clip URL Renee Poussaint introduces the first panel discussion, featuring Dr. Mervyn Silverman, president of the American Foundation for AIDS Research; Linda Chavez, a White House staffer for the Reagan administration; and Dr. Anthony Fauci, from the National Institutes of Health.

04:55Copy video clip URL “Can AIDS be spread to the heterosexual population here, as it has been in Africa?” The panel’s consensus is yes–“the clear bottom line,” Dr. Fauci explains, “is that it is becoming right now an epidemic that is truly worldwide.”

08:00Copy video clip URL A caller from Los Angeles asks the panel about how Americans at home can be protected from diseases brought back by Americans traveling “extensively” abroad. Chavez responds: “There’s no worry, if an American hasn’t had sexual intercourse, exchange of bodily fluid, or exchange of blood overseas, they’re not going to be bringing AIDS back with them.” Dr. Fauci points out that statistically there’s a greater risk of travelers to the United States bringing the AIDS virus back to their home countries, rather than the other way around.

10:08Copy video clip URL A caller from Nashville asks, “What is the state of our research compared to the research in other countries?”

11:14Copy video clip URL Cut away to a clip about changing sexual patterns in France as a result of the AIDS virus.

12:01Copy video clip URL A caller from New York asks about the risks posed to foreign service members. “It’s an indiscriminate virus,” Dr. Silverman explains–anyone who participates in “risk behaviors” has a higher likelihood of contracting it.

12:34Copy video clip URL Renee Poussaint asks: is AIDS an African virus? “It very likely is,” Dr. Fauci says. “But we have to be careful that we’re not pointing fingers.”

13:24Copy video clip URL A caller from Florida asks the panel about the possibility of “illegal aliens from Mexico” bringing AIDS to the United States. Chavez admits that “we’ve never been able to solve the problem of illegal immigration.” However, “I don’t think that we should assume that just because they’re ‘illegal’ that they’re more likely to be AIDS carriers than someone who comes here legally.” Dr. Silverman adds, “You know, I think it’s sad that we keep looking outside–we should look within, and deal with our problems here instead of trying to blame somewhere else.”

15:06Copy video clip URL Renee Poussaint asks: “Are there any lessons that we can learn from some of the foreign countries who have gotten into such things as giving out needles to drug addicts–areas that we have gotten close to, but that we’ve shied away from?” Dr. Silverman talks about the necessity of AIDS education in the United States, as well as the benefits of a needle-exchange program.

16:13Copy video clip URL Musical break with images of the U.S. border.

17:00Copy video clip URL John Hambrick introduces Rick Norton, the Associate Commissioner for Examinations with the Immigration and Naturalization Services. “The law requires us to exclude people who have dangerous contagious diseases,” Norton explains. “Currently there are seven diseases on that list. AIDS was just recently added, meaning we have to check to see if [immigrants] have AIDS as they enter the United States.”

20:38Copy video clip URL A caller from Nashville asks if the United States should place more restrictions on military personnel stationed abroad in countries with high incidences of AIDS.

22:37Copy video clip URL An audience member asks, “How do you view the US airlines’ policy regarding the transport of AIDS patients?” (A man with AIDS had recently been denied transport to the United States.) The panel unanimously agrees that the policy stems from a lack of education about AIDS.

24:57Copy video clip URL Stephanie Kramer PSA. Another PSA: “Anyone can get AIDS.” A third PSA: “More Partners, More Risk.” PSA with choreographer and dancer Michael Peters.

27:04Copy video clip URL Survey results: “Should AIDS testing be required for all foreigners entering the U.S.?” 78% of callers said yes, 22% said no. The panel weighs in on the ignorance of the public on how AIDS is spread.

28:16Copy video clip URL A registered nurse in the audience asks how people can be sure of the accuracy of information about AIDS, when so many “experts” disagree. “I know of no good researcher anywhere in the world who would disagree with the statements we have been making,” Dr. Silverman attests.

29:58Copy video clip URL PSA: “AIDS is preventable.” Meryl Streep PSA.

30:57Copy video clip URL Show re-open. Beginning of the next segment, “What Hath God Wrought?,” which discusses the response of organized religion to the AIDS crisis.

32:19Copy video clip URL Rev. Rubel Scully says AIDS is not a punishment sent by God–plenty of people are committing far worse crimes than unprotected sex and are not receiving any sort of plague from God. David Shepherd of the Tennessee Christian Alliance says STDs and AIDS are “a direct result of the breaking of God’s commandments.” An anonymous man attributes the suicide of his lover to scorn from the church. Dr. Bill Sherman says people are to blame for their own misfortune. Father Joseph Breen says God is not vindictive.

33:59Copy video clip URL John Hambrick introduces the second panel: Bill Sherman, minister at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Nashville; Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery, a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and David Lund, an attorney and AIDS activist. Hambrick asks, “Do you see AIDS as a message from God?” The panelists discuss their views on sexuality and its consequences.

36:38Copy video clip URL Poussaint presents a question for callers: “Do churches have an obligation to help people with AIDS?”

37:22Copy video clip URL A caller from New York asks, “How do we know that [AIDS] is not God’s test of our compassion?”

39:16Copy video clip URL A caller from Nashville points out that, if one believes that AIDS is a punishment for living an immoral lifestyle, then “lesbians must be God’s chosen people,” as one of those lowest-risk population groups. Lund laughs in the background and the audience applauds. Dr. Lowery reiterates his support of monogamous relationships generally, “within the context of love, commitment, and fidelity.”

43:35Copy video clip URL A caller from Los Angeles wants to know what choices Christians have besides abstinence with regard to scripture? “I think it’s important that it be made clear that lifestyle is not always a matter of choice,” Lund says, and cites his own experience as a gay man as an example.

46:11Copy video clip URL Poussaint leads in to a musical interlude.

47:00Copy video clip URL Renee Poussaint introduces Father Carl Meirose, a leader in a pastoral care group that ministers to AIDS patients. “Some [AIDS patients] have gotten excellent support from their local pastors, and others, very often, have just been afraid because of things that the pastor has said in public,” he explains.

49:06Copy video clip URL A caller from Nashville talks about his brother’s death from AIDS, and asks, “What major religious organizations or denominations have an established outreach program for AIDS victims?”

50:09Copy video clip URL Terry Conner, an audience member with AIDS, talks about finding peace with God in light of his diagnosis. Sherman replies that he does believe the Christian community needs to help people with AIDS as well as inform them about lifestyles that will lead to AIDS. David Lund talks about the difficulty of training clergy members and others ministering to people with AIDS. “Let’s face it. We’re dealing with the four major taboos of American society: death, sex, homosexuality, and drug abuse, oh my God! There’s not much else you can’t talk about in this country, and here we’ve rolled ’em all into one neat little package.”

53:44Copy video clip URL “I don’t think that there’s any disagreement in the church about ministering with compassion to people who are ill,” Dr. Lowery says. “Problem is, the church is in the midst of a serious debate about the gay community, about homosexuality, about whether or not that’s a choice.”

55:02Copy video clip URL Rod McEwen PSA. “Fear of AIDS creates its own darkness” PSA. Ron Reagan (son of President Reagan) PSA.

56:58Copy video clip URL Survey results: “Do churches have an obligation to help people with AIDS?” 77% yes, 23% no. The panel resumes a discussion of whether homosexuality is a choice or an orientation.

59:53Copy video clip URL PSA: “When you sleep with someone, you’re sleeping with everyone they’ve slept with in the last ten years, and everyone they’ve slept with.”

1:00:23Copy video clip URL PSA with Linda Gray.

01:00:59Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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