At first it seemed an oddity: a scattering of reports in that young gay men in New York and California were ill with forms of pneumonia and cancer usually seen only in people with severely weakened immune systems. In hindsight, of course, these announcements were the first official harbingers of AIDS — the catastrophic pandemic that would infect more than 60 million people and counting worldwide, killing at least half that number. As AIDS has become entrenched, a new generation has grown up with little if any knowledge of those early days. But they are worth recalling, as a cautionary tale about the effects of the bafflement and fear that can surround an unknown disease and as a reminder of the sweeping changes in medical practice that the epidemic has brought about.
One man's life with death
Gay-related immune deficiency - Wikipedia
But despite these lasting effects on an entire cohort of gay men, relevant scholarship narrowly focuses on older HIV-positive gay men using clinical, psychological, and social network approaches. It thus makes inadequate use of the life course perspective, which, by attention to timing, agency, and interdependence, can uncover the myriad interlocking and longitudinal aspects of the epidemic that affect this group. To those adopting the life course perspective Elder, , human lives are shaped not only by such characteristics as sex, ethnicity, and class but also by birth year and cohort status, which represent the distinctive exposure of those born at a certain time to social change Elder, , p. Instances of social change such as economic upheavals, social movements, and war have cumulative effects on e.
3 decades of AIDS: We’re still learning
Courtesy of Tim Burak. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people have been visible and politically active in Seattle for generations. Their activism has yielded pioneering civil rights victories. The links above and below right lead to video oral histories with activists and introductory essays about key issues and communities.
Relationships between the City, the County, and community organizations were vital in working toward sufficient support and services, as well as improved civil rights protections. Nationwide, homophobia and lack of support from Ronald Reagan's administration resulted in almost nonexistent AIIDS relief at the federal level. The administration's silence about the epidemic during the first years of his presidency cost the country many lives and thousands of dollars in federally funded research. The City of Seattle and King County were some of the earliest jurisdictions in the nation to set aside funding for AIDS treatment and research; only San Francisco moved sooner to do so. Together with the Seattle Gay Clinic, the Health Department developed and proposed a program that included an informational hotline and one nurse practitioner.