Steve Schalchlin was diagnosed with HIV in 1993.
That the musician and songwriter has reached 60 while living with Aids - thanks to new medicines - is a stark contrast to the 1980s, when the Aids epidemic first struck and most who contracted the disease died quick and horrible deaths.
Aids in New York: The First Five Years, an exhibition opening this week at the New-York Historical Society, is a reminder of the grief, fear and mystery which pervaded the city in 1981-85.
Schalchlin says the activist movements that followed helped change attitudes towards people with Aids and lead to research and new treatments enabling people to survive the disease.
But he worries about complacency and says that many young people, particularly in the gay community, are ignorant about the risks.