10. Franklin D. Roosevelt—Triumphed despite a stigmatizing, highly contagious illness. His New Deal (think TVA, CCC, SSA) inspired three-letter mania: HIV, ASO, anyone?
9. Oprah Winfrey —Dashed off to hug Zambian AIDS orphans — but returned in time to out black men living on the down low to suburban housewives.
8. Elvis Presley—Sang ’80s hospice anthems such as “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Love Me Tender.” Also refuses to disappear, much like the bug itself.
7. Bill Clinton—Backpedaled on needle exchange, but named the first AIDS czar and brokered unprecedented deals with pharma for cheap AIDS meds in developing countries.
6. George W. Bush—Gave the world a $15 billion plan for international AIDS relief, but used lots of that money to line the pockets of abstinence-only comrades and big pharma friends.
5. Benjamin Franklin—Grand old American inventor who might put AIDS research poobah David Ho to shame, fix lipodistrophy and create a national health-care plan.
4. George Washington—Inspiring leader and founding father, who could show old-school AIDS activist Larry Kramer a thing or two about diplomacy.
3. Martin Luther King Jr.--Founded the Poor People’s Campaign, the leading inspiration for this month’s Campaign to End AIDS.
2. Abraham Lincoln—Southern homeboy who showed Civil War compassion for Dixie long before it became an AIDS hot spot. Gay presidents rule!
1. Ronald Reagan—The man who basically created AIDS? Recount, please. (Below: Colors mag ran a mock eulogy and photo in 1994, imagining an AIDS-stricken activist prez.)