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Our Forgotten Epidemic. Part One - an epidemic arrives

Our Forgotten Epidemic is a six-part series about Aotearoa New Zealand's response to HIV and AIDS, and some of the many brave individuals who changed the course of history.

In the early 1980s, people in Aotearoa started hearing rumours of a new, mystery illness that seemed to mostly be killing gay men overseas. Early rhetoric around the illness, still without an official name or known means of acquisition, was overtly homophobic and harmful. Rainbow media, such as Pink Triangle, the newspaper of the National Gay Rights Coalition of New Zealand, had some early articles in their health sections. But, on the whole, the government, mainstream media, the wider public, and even the medical community largely knew nothing or thought it was just 'something going on overseas'. Then, Kiwis began coming home sick... and several brave people stood up and demanded that people take notice before it was too late.

Our Forgotten Epidemic is produced by Wavelength Creative in collaboration with Burnett Foundation Aotearoa. Our thanks to them for allowing the series to be shared via

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Audio courtesy of:Burnett Foundation Aotearoa, Auckland
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Location:Aotearoa New Zealand, Oceania