The fight against AIDS in America today is an institution.
So many doctors are involved, and so many people have died, that it’s easy to forget how recently the disease was a deadly mystery. Twenty years ago, doctors who thought they could beat any disease suddenly faced a plague beyond their abilities. They confronted the social stigma associated with high rates of infection in gay men, in drug-users, and in the poor. They rejoiced at the discovery of early treatments, and then made death as comfortable as possible for the victims, many their friends, who couldn’t be saved.
Some doctors were crusaders and some were just dealing daily with the inevitable; many were obsessed, and none could have anticipated how the epidemic would change them and their profession forever.
(Hosted by Robert Siegel)
Ronald Bayer and Gerald Oppenheimer, professors at Columbia University’s School of Public Health and authors of “Aids Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic;” Dr. Marcus Conant, private practioner in San Francisco
and Dr. Donna Mildvan, Chief of Infectious Disease at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.