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Gay Life: the 1980s

Gay Life in the 1980s

Gay Life in the 1980s

The Other Side of Aspen, released in 1980, crowned Falcon Studios as the “North Star” of the porn cosmos and sent untold numbers of gay men rushing out to buy a VCR. Porn had come of age.

But a mysterious killer was ready to pounce with a vengeance. On June 21, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control reported; “In the period of October 1980-May 1981, five young men, all active homosexuals, were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia at three different hospitals in Los Angeles, California. Two of the patients died.”

A second report, a month later, identified outbreaks of Kaposi’s sarcoma among gay men. It took another year before the now historic New York Times article, “Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals,” appeared.

These illnesses turned out to be the tip of an iceberg of unfathomable dimensions. Originally called GRID, for Gay Related Immune Deficiency, was renamed AIDS in 1982 when it was discovered the “disease” was not confined to gay populations. HIV was identified as the probable cause in 1984.

According to current estimates, more than 33 million people around the globe are living with HIV; more than 25 million have died of AIDS or AIDS-related causes. Today, more than half of all new infections are in people under 25. In 2007 alone, despite advances in medical treatment, more than 2 million people have died.

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