John MacLeod is a primary-care physician with 30 years of experience in HIV care.
Being a gay man in the 1980s was terrifying enough. Homophobia was pervasive at the time, and coming out came with substantial risks – including the threat of rejection and violence. This was a time before human-rights protections for gays. Many lived silently in shame.
When I started medical school in 1982, reports of gay men dying from an unknown illness started to appear in the news. HIV and I both came out in the early 1980s, and so my future path would be paved by an epidemic.