What Every Young Person Should Know About The HIV/AIDS Stigma Gay Men Faced In The ’80s

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While the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to get in the way of preventing and treating the virus, the social climate today is nothing compared to the intense fear and shame that people faced in the ’80s and early ’90s.

The confusion in the midst of the epidemic, fueled by the devastating effects of the illness, created a climate where some would rather die than face treatment head-on.

Related: HIV+ Man’s Photo With His HIV- Family Goes Viral, Combats Stigma

Below, Dr. Frank Spinelli, who treated many patients with HIV/AIDS during this time in New York’s gaycentric Chelsea neighborhood and is one of the physicians featured in the series Dueling Doctors, explains first-hand the harrowing reality that plagued urban gay communities: