Gaetan Dugas (1953 - 1984), born in Quebec City, was the first French-Canadian to be diagnosed with AIDS. As an Air Canada airline steward, he was well traveled and received many free airline miles for vacations which he took advantage of for trips all over the world. Americans often fell for his QuebeƧois accent and classically handsome looks. As a standing joke between he and his friends, Dugas often declared, "I am the prettiest one", when entering a bar, bathhouse, or dance club. He made it a point to travel to San Francisco for the Gay Parade every year since 1978 and spent his time endlessly partying at bars and baths. In 1980, Dugas had a small purplish bump removed from his face, and was soon after diagnosed with Kaposi's sarcoma, a skin disease rare for someone his age.

In 1982, about 40 cases of GRID (AIDS) in 10 American cities were traced to Dugas, and he was labeled as Patient Zero of America. That same year his doctor advised him to abstain from sex or at least have protected sex to which Dugas replied, "Somebody gave this thing to me. I'm not going to give up sex." Later that year in relatively good health, he decided to move to San Francisco. During this time, rumors spread that he would have sex with a partner in a bathhouse, then turn on the lights and point to his cancer lesions. Then he would say, "I've got gay cancer. I'm going to die and so are you."

After harrassment on the street from accusatory people, Dugas moved to Vancouver. In 1983, his health began to fail after four bouts with Pneumocystis. In March 1984, to be closer to healthcare, Dugas relocated to Quebec City and appeared to be recovering. However, by the end of March, Dugas passed away from extensive kidney infection, triggered by AIDS.


Dugas' quotes are from the book And the Band Played on by Randy Schilts. While their exactness is somewhat dubious, they express Dugas' outlook and vengeful mindset.

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