bro4bro saidIt was also a serious hindrance that nobody was willing to admit their son died of AIDS. I had two friends from childhood whose parents listed "cancer" as the cause of death in their obituaries - and a third whose parents simply said "natural causes".
This unwillingness on the part of the general public to acknowledge the problem - the victims' own families, for Christ's sake, and simply because they were ashamed to let anyone know their sons were gay - seriously delayed government funding of AIDS research.
When my first partner died, his frail elderly mother, who lived 1500 miles away in New Jersey, couldn't attend the memorial service (at his request he was immediately cremated upon his death). But she & I were on good terms, she knew her son was gay and that we were living together.
I kept her informed over the phone about his illness, his death, and his final arrangements, that were modest per his own request. The costs of which she insisted upon covering herself.
So a nice lady, whom we both loved. But after his death she pressed me, to know whether her son had died of AIDS. It was important to her that he had not. I assured her he didn't, which was what the doctors initially told me.
But when I received the death certificate it did say AIDS. I contacted his doctor, who said his PML (an incurable brain infection) was indeed caused by his HIV, that I knew he had, and therefore it was considered AIDS that killed him.
I never told his mother. Except to say that he had a brain virus, that the doctors couldn't cure. Her son not dying of AIDS was important to her. She seemed to think it would shame his memory, and her reputation. These are the notions that some people harbor.