Jan 11, 2018
Ryan Wayne White (December 6, 1971 – April 8, 1990) was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States after being expelled from middle school because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time. When White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance due to concerns of the disease spreading through bodily fluid transfer. Western School was actually located in Russiaville outside of Kokomo and was not part of the local Kokomo school system. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, White lived five years longer than predicted but died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation.