Education and Prevention
In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, gay men typically became aware they were living with HIV because of the myriad opportunistic infections they experienced. And many of these men died soon after diagnosis of the AIDS-related complications. Health officials recognized that AIDS was most likely spread through direct contact with certain bodily fluids, although the agent and mechanisms of transmission were not immediately known.
Fear swept through the gay community and gripped the general public with worry that this fatal disease was easily spread. Many nursing homes refused to care for dying gay men and some health care providers feared treating them.