My sense was that it was a minority of the gay community and not mainstream thinking.
There weren’t entire online communities of AIDS deniers at the time and AIDS deniers weren’t spamming Usenet (the Internet’s primary form of online communication at the time) with that nonsense; getting online required enough intelligence that the kinds of people who would be AIDS deniers tended not to be online.
With AIDS, it took years for someone to get symptoms and die from it. Those people dying of AIDS in the mid-1980s had no idea that promiscuous unprotected sex in the 1970s would give them a deadly, incurable disease.
Even after people got aware, to protect oneself from AIDS, you either had to stop being promiscuous or you had to always wear a condom when having sex. This was a heck of a lot more of a lifestyle change than getting a jab with a needle in the shoulder two times (what people need to do here in 2021 to get the COVID-19 vaccine); despite this, it was only a small minority of people in the gay community who denied the reality of HIV and AIDS.
Even today, with antiretroviral drugs, getting HIV means that one will be a carrier for the rest of their life, and will need to constantly take expensive medicine. Maybe the technology which gave us a COVID-19 vaccine will finally give us a HIV vaccine, but we’re not there yet.
I take no joy in seeing people die from COVID-19, but it’s a very different rodeo. It’s really easy to get a vaccine, but a significant portion of people who lean right refuse to get it. With those people, it’s only the pig headed pride and stubbornness they have which is stopping them from being vaccinated.
It’s not a matter of winning. It’s a matter of wanting this wave of deaths, and COVID-19 has killed nearly as many people in the US in just two years as AIDS has killed in four decades, to end. Every person who dies of COVID-19 is a tragic loss, especially since it is now, most of the time, a preventable tragic loss.
This is an edited version of a posting I originally wrote on Reddit.
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