Bill Hayes is the author of The Anatomist and other books.
It is difficult now to call up the particular mood that prevailed in the AIDS epidemic’s early years. I am not talking about the first rumblings, when no one knew enough to be afraid, but further in. The idea of life without AIDS, much less of being alive in thirty years, was almost unimaginable. Which is why in the late eighties, coworkers and I at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation came up with an idea to get people—gay men, in particular—thinking about the future. We decided to create a time capsule.