In the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, little to no public sympathy existed for victims of the disease. That is, until a photographer took a photo of David Kirby, a man dying of AIDS. The video below lays out Kirby's tragic story and the monumental effects it had regarding public perception of the disease.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Kirby left his home state in the late '70s because of its deeply homophobic laws and made his way to Los Angeles. There, he was able to express himself and live openly as a gay man.
Unfortunately, this newfound liberation came with deadly consequences for Kirby, consequences the public did not fully understand nor sympathize with. As HIV/AIDS took rapid hold of vulnerable populations such as gays and sex workers, the mainstream public shunned them out of shame and fear of contracting the then-mysterious disease.
Kirby ended up dying of AIDS, but a powerful photo of him on his deathbed sparked the public's sympathy and interest in fighting the disease. Watch the video below to learn about how David Kirby brought new hope to the fight against HIV/AIDS.