A Public Health Crisis

Title

A Public Health Crisis

Description

Health workers sought to get the word out about AIDS and prevent the spread of the disease. This meant tailoring messages to reach audiences who differed in culture, education, income, behavior, and level of trust in public institutions.

Educators faced widespread ignorance of and resistance to understanding how AIDS was transmitted. They had to contend with public concerns over discussions of sexual matters and the stigma associated with the populations most at risk.

Items in the A Public Health Crisis Collection

"Questions and Answers" pamphlet, Philadelphia Task Force, 1982
Initially ignored by mainstream America, gay people in every major city created a parallel system of volunteer-run service organizations to supply care, information, and referrals to those with AIDS.

"AIDS AIDS AIDS????" pamphlet, Gay Men's Health Crisis, 1982
Initially ignored by mainstream America, gay people in every major city created a parallel system of volunteer-run service organizations to supply care, information, and referrals to those with AIDS.

Surgeon General’s report, 1986
Surgeon General C. Everett Koop presented the government’s position on the epidemic in 1986 with straightforward and frank medical information.

Healthy Sex is Great Sex
The Gay Men’s Health Crisis distributed explicit material such as this 1982 brochure.

AIDS: A Guide to Protective Measures for Hospital Personnel
Health care workers needed specific information about ways to protect themselves from infection.

Teaching AIDS, 1986
Sex education has always been a contentious topic in families, schools, and religious organizations. This 1986 textbook, published in San Francisco, was one of the first to tackle how to inform K–12 students about AIDS.

Women do get AIDS, 1986
Women with AIDS were predominantly poor and African American or Latina. They were excluded from clinical trials, and the official AIDS definition did not include diseases specific to women until 1993.

Sabado Loco
Public health fotonovelas such as this 1989 booklet were adapted from a publication format already popular among Latinos.

America Responds to AIDS
In 1987, the Centers for Disease Control launched a broad campaign to explain modes of transmission, risk, and behavior.

Signed Copy, How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, 1983
Michael Callen and Richard Berkowitz, gay men infected with the virus, wrote this 1983 sex-positive guide.