How AIDS Works

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Author's Note: How AIDS Works

When I was in high school in the 1980s, AIDS was the boogeyman. As a shared national anxiety, it loomed as large as nuclear Armageddon. While in university in the early 1990s I befriended a returning student who'd lost all of his close friends and lovers to AIDS in the previous decade. But then things changed. While living in San Francisco in the mid-1990s I met a young man who was dying of AIDS. Emaciated and pale, he looked desperately ill. I thought I would probably never see him again. A few months later an energetic young person bounded up to me on the sidewalk and shook my hand, reminding me that we'd already met. It was the same person who'd been dying. His doctor had put him on the new antiretroviral therapy, and it had saved his life. – O.C.

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