ABSTRACT

To appreciate how couples of mixed HIV status are affected by HIV in their lives, one needs to understand the potent historical context of HIV/AIDS in the United States. The heady air of gay sexual liberation of the 1970s is now understood as the ironic prologue to 1979, the year that marked the very first mysterious moments of a serious set of maladies affecting young men. Symptoms such as dermatological rashes and lesions, a rare form of unusually potent pneumonia, and enlarged lymph nodes puzzled and stumped the first set of physicians exposed to this phenomena (CDC, 1981; Curran, 1983). Within months, this handful of physicians on both coasts of the United States noted another trend in their respective patients: they were all gay men. As Greenan and Tunnell (2003) explain, the uprising of the gay community at the Stonewall Inn in 1969 brought being gay into the public spotlight, but AIDS brought gay male couples to the forefront of media attention.