Disease, Diagnosis, and Devastation in the Pre-ART Era
A review of the literature on the identification of the HIV-1 virus, the development of HIV antibody testing for screening shortly thereafter and the detection of clinical disease prior to viral identification is examined. The life experiences of the men of the AIDS Generation are considered in relation to their initial diagnoses in the 1980s and early 1990s. This chapter describes how each one of these men first came to know their HIV/AIDS status, including how he first found out that he was HIV-positive as well as his reaction to this new reality. Emotional states post diagnosis are related to psychological dissociation (“the pause”) and eventual coping. Reactions to the diagnosis are also related to the expectation of serconverting. The belief that death would be immediate is considered (“the myth of two” which suggested that their lives would be over in two years time) and nested within the biomedical understanding of the natural history of HIV/AIDS at that time.
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