Home India Local News Loss and bravery: Intimate snapshots from the first decade of the AIDS crisis

Loss and bravery: Intimate snapshots from the first decade of the AIDS crisis

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When the World Health Organisation declared December 1 World AIDS Day in 1988, the disease was a global pandemic. By the end of that year, 82,362 cases of AIDS had been reported in the United States, and more than 61,000 people had died nationwide. In the 30 years since, the disease has killed an estimated 35.4 million people, including more than 700,000 in the United States. Today, there are still some 36.9 million people living with HIV and AIDS around the world. The war is far from over in the United States. If current trends continue, half of all black gay and bisexual men will live with HIV during their lifetimes. The epidemic is hitting hardest in the South, the region of our country with the fewest resources to combat it.

James Estrin, co-editor of The New York Times’ Lens blog and a senior staff photographer, was a young freelancer when he began covering the AIDS crisis for the paper. “Being a photographer, what you hold on to is the hope that your image had an effect or changed things,” he said recently. “That’s what you want, but rarely can you measure that effect. What you can know is that if your images were published in The New York Times, people won’t be able to say they didn’t know. That’s good and that’s enough.”

We asked three Times photographers and one reporter who covered the AIDS crisis as the epidemic escalated to reflect on how they navigated what was then an unknown and terrifying world. Sara Krulwich, staff photographer:

“The humiliation that was connected to the disease was so horrible to me. My cousin’s boyfriend died, and it was impossible to find anyone that would handle his body. There was only one place in all of New York City that would actually take a person who died of AIDS. It was Redden’s on 14th Street. It’s still there. Many years later, his nephew came to New York, and we went there, and we thanked them.

“The people with AIDS had very little time left and most were filled with fear. Fear of the disease. Fear of coming out. When someone would actually let me take their picture, it was an act of enormous generosity, and I always felt very grateful. I hope they could feel that, because being a photographer is so secondary to being the kind of person that subjects can trust.” https://www.telegraphindia.com/world/loss-and-bravery-intimate-snapshots-from-the-first-decade-of-the-aids-crisis/cid/1677470

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