Pose: A Look Into The Past of HIV/AIDS In The 1980s



It’s the 1980’s, and it’s the height of the ball culture for the LGBTQ community in New York City. Pose on FX highlights the history of the ballroom scene along with the realities that many LGBTQ people faced during that time. From creating a world where everyone is accepted to understanding how HIV/AIDs takes a toll on one’s body, Pose is has taken on a lot in the first three episodes.

During the first episode of Pose, Blanca ( a main character of the show) is unfortunately diagnosed with HIV. During the next two episodes, HIV is brought up consistently due to how rampant the disease was in the 80’s (especially amongst the LGBTQ community). Throughout the season, the show highlights the importance of getting tested for HIV regularly as well as other STDs. These messages also pose as a reminder to its audience to get tested for HIV regularly as well.

Not knowing how it was spread, people in the 1980s were worried that they’d get HIV from holding hands or catch the disease from a public toilet seat. However, HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, anal fluids, and breast milk. Historically, HIV has most often been spread through unprotected sex, the sharing of needles for drug use, and via birth. Since the 80’s, there have been multiple developments in regards to PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) and other treatments as well as education.
While HIV/AIDS had been around for a while, it became prevalent in the 80’s due to lack of sexual education, education on getting tested regularly and access to getting tested. In the 80s there was a lot of stigma related and government ignorance related to HIV.  This stigma and ignorance aided in the rapid spread of HIV. Now HIV testing, education and treatments are more accessible to everyone and government officials are consistently running campaigns to encourage people to get tested. Staying in the know of your HIV status is critical to your health. Our HIV test puts you in control as well as provides actionable steps you can take once you receive your results.

Article by Robert Francis Curtis

Robert studied at Columbia College Chicago. He has worked as a Care Adviser here at Analyte Health for a while and looks forward to spreading more information about sexual health.

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