BUSINESS INSIDER – In a new documentary, Dr. Anthony Fauci reveals he has PTSD from the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Fauci helped treat AIDS patients and oversaw HIV/AIDS research in the 1980s and 90s. Some Americans saw him as the enemy back then, the way others do now.
Decades before Dr. Anthony Fauci led the US response to COVID-19, he shepherded the country through a different epidemic: the HIV/AIDS crisis.
In 1981, when Fauci was head of a laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, researchers discovered that a growing group of Americans — predominantly young, gay men — were dying of cancers and infections. Scientists thought a virus might have been the root cause.
But it wasn’t until 1984 that researchers discovered that HIV leads to a host of life-threatening illnesses now known as AIDS.
Doctors were watching helplessly as patients rapidly deteriorated. Fauci describes the trauma of those cases in a new National Geographic documentary called “Fauci,” which is streaming on Disney Plus.
“It was all bad, bad, worse, bad, worse, bad, worse,” he says in the film. “It was just so unbelievably frustrating when you’re used to being able to fix things and you’re just not really fixing anything.”
At one moment in the documentary, Fauci cries when remembering an AIDS patient who lost his vision from an infection that destroyed his retina. The man was always upbeat, Fauci says, and would often comment on Fauci’s smile.
“One day, we walked in in the morning and I walked up to the desk and he said, ‘Who’s there?’ And it was clear that he had gone completely blind,” Fauci says.
When the an interviewer asks why Fauci is so affected by the memory, he replies: “Post-traumatic stress syndrome — that’s what it is … ”