Vaccine on Trial

  • June Goodfield


Gay men were aware that they faced some special health problems even before Wolf Szmuness appeared in their lives. These did not appear as sudden epidemics, as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) did a decade later, but crept in slowly and remorselessly. The men suspected that their sexual habits were part of the problem but, in the early 1970s, were not ready to change their life-style. These were the heady days of a gay liberation movement that began in 1969, when a police raid on a homosexual bar in Christopher Street, New York, provoked a riot by its patrons. The street and its vicinity in Greenwich Village became a focus of gay activity. Here in the bars or just on the streets, homosexuals could find friends and mentors, casual contacts or steady lovers, the possibility of a devoted, lasting relationship or a transient, anonymous promiscuity. At weekends or on “buddy” nights, five hundred to one thousand men might gather in the bathhouses, where a man could make several random sexual contacts in the course of one evening — by the 1970s the police raids had stopped.


Liver Cancer Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Fulminate Liver Failure Yellow Hair Police Raid 
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© June Goodfield 1985

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  • June Goodfield

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