Reagan has died of AIDS Favorite 



Jan 15 1994


Colors Magazine

Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States on November 4, 1980. In less than a year, in the Summer of 1981, AIDS was first identified in medical journals. However, it took until 1987 before he would give his first major address on AIDS.

This photograph of Reagan was
published alongside a fake obituary in the 1994 edition of @benetton's Colors' magazine. It shows his face disfigured with Kaposi's sarcoma, a rare cancer mostly seen in people with untreated advanced HIV.

The fake obituary mourned the loss of Reagan, a national hero who had not only been courageous in admitting that he had AIDS but did everything in his power to thwart the epidemic including diverting funds from the defense department to fight it.

The editorial director of Colors, Oliviero Toscani, published the photograph in a special AIDS edition of the magazine. He later explained the parody was to in-fact highlight Reagan's inaction before he finally decided to address the epidemic which resulted in 89,343 AIDS related deaths by the end of his presidency in 1989.

Posted by Andy Bichlbaum on

Staff rating: 

In 1994 there still wasn't a decent treatment for AIDS. Why? This startling image placed blame where it belongs.