People with HIV Share what Life Was Like During the AIDS Epidemic

People living with HIV reminisce about the difficulty of living through the AIDS epidemic.

At the height of the AIDS epidemic, fear and stigma about the disease and the people infected with it abounded. At that time, HIV was seen by many as something that only affected marginalized groups, which was an assumption we now know to be false. Yet, it was widely used as a reason to shame and ostracize those who suffered from the disease. For those diagnosed with HIV at the height of the epidemic, the stigma associated with the virus and the mistreatment and isolation endured by many was often just as damaging as the virus itself.

In this video, the plight experienced by people with HIV who lived through those difficult times, when being diagnosed too often meant a death sentence, is shared. The acute physical and emotional toll that those infected in the 1980s and early ‘90s endured is shown and described in graphic and heartbreaking detail by one couple, in particular. Through their eyes, the viewer is provided a glimpse into what living with the disease then was like, and is given a point of comparison between the fear and despair associated with a HIV diagnosis three decades ago, and the hope and possibilities that exist for those affected now, in the modern era.

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