In 1981, severe illness in a group of young gay men caught the attention of federal public health officials who could not explain the cluster of rare, deadly cases of pneumonia. This ominous medical mystery is widely regarded as the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which continues to rage on every inhabitable corner of earth.
Over the past 30 years, HIV/AIDS in the U.S. has spread to many other populations, particularly low-income women of color and injection drug users. While no longer a singularly “gay disease,” gay, bisexual and transgender people remain severely impacted by HIV/AIDS in the U.S. For young gay, bi, and transgender youth of color, alarming rates of HIV rival those of some Sub-Saharan countries. What can we learn from the 30-year history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in order to forge a better, future response?