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Activists directed much of their rage at the Reagan administration; the president remained largely silent about the epidemic until 1987 when he declared AIDS “public health enemy number one.” The SILENCE=DEATH emblem, adopted that same year by the…

1987 2nd AIDS Capital copy.jpg
Most states still outlawed same-gender sex in the 1980s. Many Americans, deeply offended by homosexuality, objected to any acceptance of it. Some of them considered it a sin, and believed AIDS was a suitable punishment. Donna Binder, photographer

AIDS quilt panel Roger Lyon.jpg
Since 1987, through the Names Project, over 48,000 individual panels have been created that memorialize the lives of more than 94,000 people who have died of AIDS. Each person has a quilt panel sewn by loved ones, such as this 1987 one for AIDS…

Candlelight vigils often accompanied displays of the Memorial Quilt.

NAMES Project photograph

Still controversial, needle exchange programs designed to reduce the use of HIV-contaminated needles began appearing around 1985. This street-art plaque connects the needles used by addicts to homelessness and poverty.

Africa and AIDS.JPG
Over time, the international implications of the epidemic became clear. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, 33 million people around the world are living with the virus; 22.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite all we…

POZ, '96.JPG
POZ magazine serves a specific consumer group—people who are HIV positive.
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