https://www.thebody.com/article/larry-mass-earliest-hiv-aids-news-coverage
History of HIV/AIDSInterviews

Before the Storm: The Inside Story of the Earliest News Coverage on HIV/AIDS

An Interview With Larry Mass, M.D.

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Writer and physician Larry Mass, M.D., spoke with TheBody via Zoom to share his recollections of his earliest reporting on HIV.
    I very naively thought that after that declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder ... everybody was going to love us, all the laws would be changed. Everything would be nice and, you know, it would be—boy, talk about naive.
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    She said, “You can’t tell anybody anything.”
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    We’ve got to be as scientifically accurate as possible. Whatever it is we’re saying or doing—and we’re basing it on whatever it is we know—we can't venture very far afield in conjecture. And there was already, very quickly, a lot of conjecture.
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    I said, “Why aren’t you all doing more? Why don’t we have features? What is happening? The Times is not covering this thing.” He said, “We’re not an advocacy journal.”
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    There were these different groups, you know, African nationals, hemophiliacs, drug addicts, and gays: What did they have in common? The epidemiology just wasn’t working.
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    I was so worried: What if we got it wrong and we set off all of these alarms? We destabilize the whole gay liberation movement, we turn the country against us.
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    Larry Kramer’s film 'The Normal Heart' shows [Ned] coming out on that Fire Island ferry that weekend. And the article that they had, or that seems to be there, is the one by Lawrence Altman. That’s not the article that he took out to Fire Island: He took out my article.
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    Mathew Rodriguez

    Mathew Rodriguez

    @mathewrodriguez

    Mathew Rodriguez was an editor at TheBody/TheBodyPro from 2012 to 2015 and from 2019 to May 2021.