The virus of HIV traveled to the U.S in the 60s, but it wasn’t until 1981 that hospitals in San Francisco and Los Angeles started getting crowded with young men who claimed the exact same symptoms. Even after the disease was recognized, the Regean administration didn’t not anything to deal with the issue and instead condemned homosexuals saying God treated them as they deserved. In London, the same crisis hit a little later and haunted gay people until the late 90s. Photographers were not allowed in hospitals and there were so many prejudices and misinformation about the way that the virus could spread. Gideon Mendel was one of the very few photographers who was granted access at a London hospital and depicted the intimate photos of those who were hit with the virus and their loved ones.
Lack of medication
Young men were dying due to the lack of medication and the stigma that was carried along with the disease did not improve the situation at all.
Taking a step closer
While most people would stand behind a glass and wouldn’t step close to patients, Gideon moved closer and depicted the love which was expressed from the patients’ close ones.
The attentive nurses
The nurses that took care of the patients were very attentive and created bonds with them, something that made them incredibly sad when they were gone.
Love was everywhere
Those who suffered from AIDS were not skeleton locked in dark rooms awaiting to die, but they were surrounded by friends and their partners and tried to live as more pleasantly as possible.
Hard to open up to strangers
It was very hard for these people, who used to live behind closed doors to finally open up and share their story with the photographer and the public.
AIDS in the UK in the recent years
In 2014 it was estimated that over 45,000 men were living with AIDS, which means that 1 in 20 men between 15-44 had the disease.
Heterosexuals suffer from AIDS as well
AIDS has never been a ‘homosexual’ disease. That was the way that politicians and conservatives wanted to present the situation. In 2014, an estimated 21,300 heterosexual men and 32,700 heterosexual women were living with HIV in the UK.
Unaware of their disease
14% of homosexual men in the UK are unaware that they are carrying the HIV virus, while many carriers are drug users, who contract the virus through dirty needles.
AIDS has always been one of the most unforgiven and socially judged diseases due to the fact that it was linked with homosexuality, but if you should know one thing is that heterosexuals contracted it too from having unprotected sex with prostitutes.