In their own words...
April 10, 2007 12:35 AM   Subscribe

In their own words... Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recall the early years of AIDS, from diagnosis of the then-unknown disease, to discovering the viral cause, and from there to the search for treatments. The site features interviews (including several with virologist Robert Gallo), early publications, and a collection of archived image materials.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (11 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Great post... My step-cousin was one of the first victims of the "new" disease of AIDS, in the early 8os... To us, in Kansas, it was quite a revelation, and it fell upon me (a straight girl, in junior high) to tell most of the relatives what it meant... Surreal, to say the least... Thanks for the post.
posted by amyms at 1:06 AM on April 10, 2007

My oldest brother, a very decent and kind-hearted man, fell victim to the disease as well. Thanks for the post.
posted by maxwelton at 2:49 AM on April 10, 2007

I was in my 20's, newly moved to NYC, when the first NY Times article about the 'purple spots' (karposi's sarcoma), that gay men were getting, appeared in the paper. I remember checking the date of the paper, to be sure it wasn't April Fools. The purple color just sounded too gay to be for real.
posted by Goofyy at 3:27 AM on April 10, 2007

Also chronicled here
posted by rxrfrx at 4:30 AM on April 10, 2007

This is a great post. Thanks.
posted by OmieWise at 5:29 AM on April 10, 2007

I remember when it had been pieced together that this syndrome had a connection to gay men, but before the viral bit had been discovered. The going theory, for a little bit, was somehow the presence of sperm in the bloodstream, helped in by little tears from anal sex, was causing the immune system to go nuts and lock down. My trick-biking friends, who were prone to any number of cuts and scrapes anywhere on their bodies, were concerned that some random nocturnal emission might seep into their usual wounds during the dead of night and cause the disease. It's a pretty laughable concept now, akin to spontaneous generation, but my friends were seriously afraid.
posted by adipocere at 6:34 AM on April 10, 2007

I still blame Reagan for trying to deny it and actively reducing efforts to identify the cause and educate on its spread.

That man really was an evil monster. He did everything from commit treason to openly reviling the poor, and approximately half of this nation considers him a hero.

By calling him evil I'm assuming he had at least some use of his faculties while in office, which I realize may not be the case.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:57 AM on April 10, 2007

Wow. Thanks for this post. It's really eye-opening seeing how it was first characterized and treated.
posted by willthethrill at 8:07 AM on April 10, 2007

(Having buried three friends as a member of an AIDS care-team ministry at my old church -- the first, a mom with three girls; the last, one of my classmates from middle school -- I have a personal stake in this, and I make myself wear bright red every December 1 even though I can't stand the color.

One fall day fifteen years ago, I walked across the river from Arlington National Cemetery to the National Mall, from seeing one vast graveyard to a huge expanse covered with sections of memorial quilt...I don't know which collective evidence of cataclysmic cumulative loss and grief had me sobbing harder that day.)

This is an important bit of oral history and one of the things the World Wide Web does best. It's a useful coda of sorts to Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On.

Nice find, Blazecock Pileon.
posted by pax digita at 10:01 AM on April 10, 2007

yup--good post.

Reagan didn't even mention it until 87.

(pax, i'm still mad about 12/1 becoming World Aids Day--it's my birthday)
posted by amberglow at 10:36 AM on April 10, 2007

my partner of 10+ years died from this hideous disease. i too blame reagan.
posted by brandz at 6:17 PM on April 10, 2007

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