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Gaëtan Dugas
Gaëtan Dugas-1-
Historical Figure
Nationality: Canada
Date of Birth: 1953
Date of Death: 1984
Cause of Death: Kidney failure caused by AIDS
Occupation: Flight Attendant
Turtledove Appearances:
"Coming Across"
Fantasy
Type of Appearance: Direct POV (as "Gaetan")

Gaëtan Dugas (February 20, 1953 – March 30, 1984), a Canadian who worked for Air Canada as a flight attendant, was one of the first diagnosed AIDS patients. In March 1984, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study tracking the sexual liaisons and practices of gay and bisexual men in California, New York, and some other states found Dugas to be the center of a network of sexual partners, which led to him being dubbed "patient zero", although the idea that he initially brought HIV to North America was definitively disproven by researchers in May, 2016; their results were published in October, 2016. He is used as an example in epidemiology of an index case.

Dugas traveled the world and had many sexual liaisons with men. At the time, gay culture was largely illegal, underground, and clandestine. Bars and bath houses were social settings for gay and closeted men to meet. The extent to which HIV/AIDS was known about in the early 1980s, how it was spread, or when Dugas was diagnosed are disputed.

Gaëtan Dugas in "Coming Across"Edit

Gaetan was an Air Canada flight attendant from Quebec City, Quebec. He had always considered himself the most beautiful of men, but during his vacation time in San Francisco in 1979, he met a man who made him look pale by comparison. Gaetan and Lingol hit it off well and had a sexual experience much greater than Gaetan had ever thought possible. However, while Gaetan thought a great romance was just beginning, Lingol abruptly terminated the relationship, leaving behind a note that it would be better to end it on a high note rather than let it slowly decay into ennui and loathing. Gaetan was distraught at first, but got back to his life in the air, having many more romantic adventures before a mysterious disease drained away his life five years later.

Little did Gaetan know that he had given Lingol a souvenir to remember him by, which would threaten Lingol's people with utter annihilation.

Literary commentEdit

Although Gaetan's surname is never given, the story provides enough biographical detail to identify him with the historical Dugas.

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