Proposal for Primary Source Analysis

The AIDS Quilt has a panel which depicts an important Doonesbury character, Andy Lippincott. Lippincott was one of the first representatives in popular culture of a character living with this disease. Later representations include The O+ Men, and general health education comics. Through research comparing the effectiveness of standard information booklets and health education comics, many heath providers agree that comics play an important role connecting with patients, providing a sense of closure and acceptance for their condition, and can help with important decision making regarding next the next steps to take for certain conditions. Lippincott’s memorization in the AIDS Quilt proves that his appearance in the comic strip Doonesbury had a positive impact on the general public. While Lippinocott was a white homosexual man, his presence connected to a universal audience. According to the Center of Disease Control, women and minorities where strongly affected by the AIDS crisis yet were underrepresented with education outreach efforts. While many subgroups did not have a voice during the peak of this epidemic, fictional characters and their creators took upon themselves the role of representing these marginalized communities and attempted to lift them out of the stereotypes regarding the disease that they struggle with.

The purpose of this primary source analysis is to interpret modes of media, specifically comics and comic strips, that relate to AIDS/HIV and analyze the effect that these story lines and comic characters have on general public’s awareness and education of the epidemic during both a time period when AIDS/HIV was most prevalent and the present day. The audience addressed by the authors of the AIDS/HIV related media is a crucial aspect when analyzing the disadvantages that minorities and women had and still have regarding education about the disease.

This analysis utilizes data, such as graphs, scholar papers, and articles, etc, of minority communities and women in regards to the lack of media coverage about AIDS/HIV. Comic strips, such as Doonesbury, act as a public service announcement, for controversial topics, that reaches all aspects of the AIDS community and informs a universal public, such as men, women, teenagers, and minorities, of the key prevention tips and necessary precautions to help eliminate the spread of AIDS. Many characters in comics that suffer from AIDS allow the all audience to comprehend the devastating negative impact the disease and connect on a personal level with the process of acceptance and hope. The AIDS Memorial Quilt block that was made for Andy Lippincott, a gay comic character with AIDS that stared in Doonesbury, shows the impact that comics have on individuals.

I hope that through this primary source analysis I am able to clarify the inadequacy minorities and women had pertaining to media coverage of AIDS/HIV epidemic as it was evolving in the United States and express the importance of adopting new ways to discuss healthcare diseases and prevention and cures within every community.


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