Reagan was blindsided by the HIV/AIDS outbreak. At the beginning, nobody knew what was coming and no other disease, not even deadly flu epidemics commanded the strict and direct involvement that AIDS/HIV activists demanded from the president. The attention given to AIDS/HIV to this day is way out of proportion to the threat.

This chart shows AIDS/HIV spending per each death as compared to other health spending. The squeaky wheel gets the grease - especially in D.C.