An interesting memo from 1985 has surfaced that offers new insight into the original rapid spread of fear that accompanied AIDS in the US. A senator called John Roberts essentially asked President Regan to leave open the question on if AIDS can be spread by casual contact (touching, kissing and that sort of thing). Interestingly enough, he appears to have listened to Roberts and despite what the CDC concluded about the virus, later announced that there was no solid evidence either way. This did a lot to spread general fear among the public and make those who were infected outcasts in addition to having what was effectively a death sentence (at the time).
Once again, I can only express disappointment that even after all this time, it appears American leaders still continue to ignore their scientific community and instead pander to fringe lunatics when it suites their agenda.
More on the report at science.