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50 years in 50 weeks: 1981's AIDS editorial

by BAR staff

Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive  

The Bay Area Reporter first mentioned what became HIV/AIDS about a month after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's notice on June 5, 1981. But that fall, in the paper's September 10 issue, editor Paul Lorch, in a signed editorial titled "The Mystery Maladies," sought to downplay the health scare, even as gay San Franciscans were being diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, a cancer associated with AIDS. "Similarly, at this point there is nothing to give up, do more of, or do less of," Lorch wrote. Thirty-nine years and many editors later, the B.A.R. in 2020 was quick to editorialize in favor of the precautions being urged by health officials and city leaders to protect against COVID-19, which was hitting the Bay Area.

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