Huffpost Arts

The Photo That Brought AIDS Home

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In November, 1990, LIFE magazine published a photograph of a young man, David Kirby -- his body wasted by AIDS, his gaze locked on something beyond this world -- surrounded by anguished family members as he took his last breaths. The haunting image of Kirby's passing (above), taken by a journalism grad student named Therese Frare, became the one photograph most identified with the HIV/AIDS epidemic that, by then, had seen as many as 12 million people infected.

The Photo That Brought AIDS Home
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Now, 20 years after her photograph helped transform public perception of the disease, LIFE spoke with Frare about that picture; the international controversy its sparked when United Colors of Benetton used it in a 1992 ad; and the never-before-published photographs she took before and after David Kirby's death -- photos that reveal the untold story behind one of the 20th century's most heart-breaking, indelible images.

To read more and see more images, click here.