Dr. Fauci “really wanted to get a feel for what would lead to this explosion of a sexually transmitted disease”
Speaking with NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed he spent a lot of time in gay bathhouses and bars in the 1980s in order to “see what was going on” at the height of the AIDS pandemic.
Describing his adventures at the New York and San Francisco clubs, Fauci reminisced, “This was the very, very early years of the outbreak. We were seeing these large numbers of mostly gay men who were formerly otherwise well, who were being devastated by this terrible, mysterious disease. And it was so concentrated in the gay community that I really wanted to get a feel for what was going on there that would lead to this explosion of a sexually transmitted disease.”
“I went to the Castro District. I went down to Greenwich Village, and I went into bathhouses to essentially see what was going on,” he explained, adding, “I took my suit and tie off.”
What he saw firsthand at the gay gatherings concerned the young doctor.
“The epidemiologist in me went, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is a perfect setup for an explosion of a sexually transmitted disease,’” Fauci said. “And the same thing going to the gay bars and seeing what was going on, and it gave me a great insight into the explosiveness of the outbreak of a sexually transmitted disease. It gave me a really on-the-ground feel for what was actually, dynamically going on.”