New AIDS Health Project Digital Collection

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, we’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

We’re happy to announce the new AIDS Health Project (AHP) digital collection. The UCSF AIDS Health Project (AHP) began its HIV/AIDS education, prevention, and counseling efforts in 1984 with support from the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH). It grew out of a community commitment to respond and treat itself.

AHP staff and volunteers conducted research and provided mental health counseling, crisis intervention, HIV testing, youth outreach, and social services. Additionally, AHP provided HIV/AIDS training to mental health and other healthcare providers.

AHP implemented innovative programs and developed literature aimed at youth, gay men, minority communities, and other groups. AHP changed its name from the AIDS Health Project to the Alliance Health Project in 2013, expanding its mission to explicitly include the health and wellness of LGBTQ people. Check out their current work at ucsf-ahp.org.

You can view the complete AHP digital collection on Calisphere. To research the AHP records in person, please make an appointment with us.

New UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) Digital Collection

This is a post by Kelsi Evans, Project Archivist, and Lynda Letona, Archives Intern.

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, we’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

We’d like to highlight the new digital collection of the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS). CAPS was established in 1986 to educate scientists and stimulate new research projects that impact the practice, theory, and policy of HIV/AIDS prevention and keep pace with the changing epidemic. The scope of CAPS has evolved over the decades to include global projects, the development of prevention interventions, and collaborative work among researchers in fields including biomedicine, psychology, epidemiology, behavioral science, policy, clinical medicine, and other disciplines. The digital collection includes selected conference and research project materials, correspondence, publications, and ephemera.

Correspondence in the digital collection includes a 1994 letter from the American Psychiatric Association Commission on AIDS and the American Psychological Association Committee on Psychology and AIDS to Dr. David Kessler, Commissioner of the FDA. The letter expresses concerns about home sample collection (HSC) testing kits for HIV, including the range of reactions that people testing HIV positive or negative might experience. Such reactions, the letter argues, could result in severe states of anxiety and depression, increased suicidal thoughts and behavior, and increased high risk behavior for HIV transmission. The authors write, “We believe that face-to-face HIV counseling remains the procedure of choice and that HSC kit testing should be utilized only when the former is unavailable or unacceptable to the consumer,” since in-person counseling allows for more adequate assessment and management of psychological responses to testing.

The digital collection also includes issues of the Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Diseases (WORLD) newsletter. This publication includes powerful stories, including “Fighting Two Diseases” from issue number 12. Here, a woman writes about her experience of battling drug addiction in her youth and later HIV. She shares her great appreciation of going to a Kaiser educator who cared about her and helped her through difficult times. She writes that in spite of all the fear and devastation the diagnosis brought her, she has managed to experience many wonderful things and learned to remain focused on the good in life.

You can view the CAPS digital collection on Calisphere at calisphere.org/collections/26898/. To research the CAPS records in person, please make an appointment with us.

Digital Collection of Selma Dritz, Epidemiologist and AIDS Researcher

We’ve started work on our NHPRC grant project, “Evolution of San Francisco’s Response to a Public Health Crisis: Providing Access to New AIDS History Collections.” Throughout the project, I’ll be posting regular updates on Brought to Light.

For our first installment, we’re highlighting the new digital collection of Selma Dritz. Selma K. Dritz, MD, MPH, served as Assistant Director of the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and Chief of the Division of Occupational Health of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) from 1967-1984. She played a seminal role in the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay Area, tracking cases and collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UCSF to help establish the etiology and epidemiology of the disease. She worked to educate gay and straight people about AIDS and its prevention.

The digital collection includes photographs, correspondence, research, ephemera, and other selected material.

The Dritz papers in part document the relationships Dritz cultivated with other physicians, researchers, and community advocates. For instance, during her tenure at SFDPH, Dritz developed a close working relationship with Randy Shilts, author of And the Band Played On, a groundbreaking work that chronicled the early years of the AIDS epidemic. The digital collection includes thank you cards Shilts wrote to Dritz and the program for Shilts’s memorial service and Dritz’s handwritten notes she prepared for it following his death in 1994.

To view the Dritz digital collection, visit Calisphere.org. There you can also view other digitized material from collections in the AIDS History Project, including the San Francisco AIDS Foundation records and AIDS Ephemera collection.

If you would like to research the Dritz papers (MSS 2009-04), please make an appointment with us.