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Crosscurrents

"Last Men Standing": A conversation with San Francisco Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday

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Tim Hussin
/
Jesus

 

 

Talking to peers can be a vital tool for making it through dark times. But what happens when your friends and loved ones aren’t around anymore? That’s the situation for many older gay men in San Francisco, whose community was decimated by the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.

Thirty years ago, getting diagnosed was almost always a death sentence. Nobody understood the disease, and treatments were at least a decade away.
Nowadays, HIV is more of a chronic condition — one that can be managed with drugs and medical care. In San Francisco, the majority of people infected are over the age of 50, and have been living with the disease for many years. Those
"long-term survivors" got the attention of San Francisco Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday.
 

It struck me as incredibly sad and tragic that somebody who had outlived this epidemic, who had come out on the other side, would end his life.

Allday’s reporting project, ‘Last Men Standing’ turned into a multimedia story and a feature-length documentary film. Hana talked to Erin Allday, and filmmakers Tim Hussin and Erin Brethauer, about the project.

 

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.