How has it affected me? I've lost a handful of friends, a couple of co-workers, and the best uncle a little girl could have. But I also have a brother who's benefitted from the openness and visibility the epidemic provoked, and a number of friends who are completely comfortable (and utterly shameless) in their sexuality for the same reasons... and I have a deep and abiding desire to piss on Ronnie's grave.
I only just learned a friend from Reno is positive. That's likely more than the "average American" for whose want of awareness this day was created, but I know it pales next to many of my friends' experiences.