Gay activists and health officials collaborated to educate a panicked public about the disease. They explained that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes AIDS but is transmitted in limited ways.
Beginning in 1986, ARCW provided AIDS education to the gay community. It conducted massive prevention outreach campaigns with condom distributions in gay bars and the unique Bag Boyz program encouraging self-pride, safer sex, and HIV testing. ARCW also took its prevention campaign to public sex environments and Internet chat rooms where sexual liaisons occurred.