WATCH: The First AIDS Generation Reunited at "Is This My Beautiful Life?"

Those who lived through the height of the epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s share their experiences.

BY Katie Wurtzel

May 22 2013 2:02 PM ET

Activists, health care professionals, and others shared their experiences of the first two decades of the AIDS epidemic last week at a community forum in New York City, "Is This My Beautiful Life? Perspectives From Survivors of the AIDS Generation."

Medius Working Group organized the forum with the intention of reuniting the first AIDS generation to discuss how their experiences with the epidemic in the 1980s and '90s affected their lives and how to confront the issues that still remain. The forum took place at Baruch College May 9.

The event, hosted by Stephen Spinella, the Tony Award-winning star of Angels in America, opened with an excerpt from the Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Perry N. Halkitis and featuring Jesus Aguais, L. Jeannine Bookhardt-Murray, Mark Brennan-Ing, Jim Eigo, Joe Jervi, and Peter Staley. The nearly three-hour event concluded with an open discussion and questions from the audience.

The six panelists spoke on various facets of today's challenges, including the global perspective, medicine, aging, data, the gay community, and activism. Staley, the activism panelist, posted his remarks at the panel on The Huffington Post, emphasizing the need to deal with and process grief but to also acknowledge and celebrate the resilience of that first AIDS generation.

Watch highlights from the panel below.

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