The Ghosts of Saint Vincent’s Hospital: Ground Zero For New York City’s AIDS Epidemic

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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3 Responses

  1. Thank you for this article. It is a tribute, not only to St. Vincent’s, but to all who have died of HIV/AIDS and to the many medical professionals, volunteers, family members, lovers and friends who cared for them. It truly was a frightening time but also one of building community, of fighting for our rights and for heroism. I lived in Connecticut on the outer edge of the epidemic and worked with some very dedicated people at the CT Department of Health and the Hartford Gay Health Collective. It now seems like a different lifetime but AIDS has had a profound effect on all of us who have survived. May we never forget. An afterthought: I read comments on different blogs that often vilify anything “Catholic”. While reading this article I was reminded of my Catholic upbringing and how the mission of St. Vincent’s epitomized what it meant to be Catholic for me. Sadly, this no longer seems the case.

  2. My personal memories of St. Vincent’s are very oppositional. My ER & clinic memories are exceptional, but my lover’s treatment & death in 1983 was surrounded with the staff’s fear and loathing on that particular ward. The separate elevator entrance at the back also made it clear; and segregated even visitors from the rest of the hospital population. It became better, but it was fairly loathsome in the 80s, imho.
    I compare it to Mother Theresa’s Sisters of Charity hospices tossing PWAS out when their insurance ran out!

  3. Cameron Huff says:

    Not to be one of those prickly people who are always correcting, but the campus for St. Vincents was at SEVENTH Ave and 13th Street (running toward Sixth Ave.)The Building shown is the old Mariner’s training building and headquarters, which was across the Avenue from the main building. It was bought by St. Vincent’s in the 70s but as far as I know used for offices. The sisters who owned St. Vincents were approached by some flimflam Wall Street money man who promised to rework their assets (an endowment and the buildings) and promptly skinned them alive with their money evaporated and the building mortgaged sky high. Very sad.

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