I knew that December 1 is World AIDS Day, but I hadn't realized that it was first observed 20 years ago.
I'm young enough, and my friends are young enough, that I didn't lose anyone close to me to AIDS. But in 1990, I had a summer job working for a doctor whose practice was mostly AIDS patients She was an internist in the West Village in the '80s, and was one of the first to notice that a bunch of people were coming in with diseases that were supposed to be incredibly rare. She was always running really late, and gradually most of the healthy people stopped coming to her practice, but if you were sick, she was a great doctor to have on your side. She spent hours dealing with the paperwork needed to get people enrolled in clinical trials, because that was the only way to get the drugs that might possibly help them. And she'd visit her patients in the hospital and sit with them and read the riot act to the staff who were afraid to touch them. (Me? I answered phones and filed charts and entered data.)
I don't know what I'd have thought if a time traveler from 2008 had come with a news report. So wonderful that HIV is a manageable infection, something you can live with, not an automatic death sentence. But I don't think I ever imagined that 20 years later, there still wouldn't be a cure. And if you had told me that gay rights groups would be focused on marriage equality, with hardly a mention of HIV/AIDS, I simply wouldn't have believed it.