During the height of the AIDS epidemic, the pages of gay lifestyle magazines were filled with advertisements for designer clothing, liquor and vacation destinations. There were also pages advertising viatical settlements, an investment that involved the life insurance policies of gay men battling HIV and AIDS. It was quick cash for the insured, who in exchange for money named the investor as beneficiary. Once the original holder died from his complications of AIDS, the investor would reap 100 percent of the policy. Then a treatment was released that dramatically increased life expectancy for those with HIV and AIDS. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke to Jack Lowery about those men and the settlements, and how they both still exist today. He wrote about the topic for The Atlantic.
“One of the more gruesome parts of the industry is that, especially during the AIDS epidemic, this was not something that was regulated. Some of the brokers who were buying viatical settlements, I’m sure had the best interest in mind for these people, but there were a certain amount of pariahism,” Lowery told Ryssdal.
Click the audio player above to hear the full interview.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.
Thanks to our
Your support keeps us going strong, even through