SAN FRANCISCO — The night Tez Anderson’s lover Gary Lebow died in the bed they shared, one of the last things Lebow did was open his eyes and say: “Do you know how much I love you?”
Lebow died of health complications related to AIDS in 1999, at the end of the so-called plague years of the 1980s and 1990s — when survivors say they sometimes attended three or four funerals a week and constantly faced the real possibility of slow, painful death. Though exact figures are hard to come by, some experts believe that 15,000 to 20,000 people died of AIDS complications in San Francisco alone during those decades.
Lebow was just 35 years old when he died. “It seemed ironic to me. (Lebow) was dying when everyone else was living,” said Anderson, now 54 and an AIDS rights activist.