Not everyone believes Robert Rayford died of AIDS… A mystery illness killed a boy in 1969. Years later, doctors learned what it was: AIDS.
Researchers were skeptical. But as the testing grew more refined, Garry did further analysis that more conclusively pegged Rayford’s infection as an early strain of HIV that was distinct from the strain that led to the epidemic in the early 1980s.
Those tests haven’t erased all doubts, Fauci said. For him, “nailed-down proof” would require more testing on Rayford’s tissue samples. But that’s no longer possible. The last known tissue samples to survive were in Garry’s lab in New Orleans. They were wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
People make a big deal over the movie And The Band Played On, but I think a much better movie that covers that time is Longtime Companion. It is probably streaming somewhere. I haven’t seen it in a couple of decades. If you don’t remember that time, and somehow, a lot of people don’t, even if they lived through it. It was easy to ignore, I guess, if you didn’t know anyone who was dying.