…One round of blood work later he was diagnosed and told that the infection had gone full blown. He passed away shortly after. This was a guy with a light we’d never expected to go out. It was 2010 and he died much like anyone in the 80s with AIDS had, despite all of the education and medical advancement.
I think a lot about our mutual friend, Jake, who had seen him go from this light to darkness in a matter of weeks. I remember talking to Jake on the phone, listening to him trying to be upbeat, holding onto hope. Yet as the conversation progressed the terror started to leak in, the insanity that comes along with sitting shotgun to someone in such a futile place. He was 15 years my junior. I’d spent a decade steering him through some pretty hairy situations, always the older brother. Now, in this conversation, I had nothing to offer. I was going to be handed a life lesson by one of the people I’d want least to see hurt. He didn’t deserve this.
In that moment when I had nothing, I just remember thinking, Jesus, there’s nothing scarier than this. Nothing in the world.
—excerpted from Has the terror of AIDS in Gay America skipped a generation?