World AIDS Day – Documenting the Epidemic

The UCSF Archives & Special Collections started building the AIDS History collection almost 30 years ago, in 1987. Early on, the archivists decided to create a collection development policy that would allow researchers to examine diverse aspects of the AIDS epidemic, including political, social, economic, cultural, and biomedical aspects.

The AIDS History Project holdings at UCSF currently include 39 collections; all of them are cataloged and 32 are processed and have detailed inventories. The recently-acquired seven new collections, comprising a total of 373 linear feet, are not yet processed, and the archives are working to secure funding to arrange and describe them. In the past year we added the following collections to our holdings:

John S. Greenspan papers

—John Greenspan, BDS, PhD, and Deborah Greenspan, DSc, BDS, ca. 1984

—John Greenspan, BDS, PhD, and Deborah Greenspan, DSc, BDS, ca. 1984

A faculty member at UCSF since 1976, John S. Greenspan is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology in the Department of Orofacial Sciences. He is a Director-Emeritus of the AIDS Research Institute, which he led from 2003 to 2012, and is the founding Director of the UCSF Oral AIDS Center, as well as UCSF AIDS Specimen Bank. He was the Director of the UCSF AIDS Clinical Research Center/California AIDS Research Center from 1992 to 2005.

His research interests include the global health aspects of AIDS. His own work is rooted in studies of oral aspects of AIDS and the role of viruses in oral epithelial and salivary gland lesions. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to HIV research and care, notably the discovery of the lesion hairy leukoplakia, its association with EBV, and the significance of this and other oral lesions in the natural history of HIV diseases. His papers include correspondence, presentations, lectures, research data and notes, teaching materials, records related to administration of the AIDS Research Institute and AIDS Specimen Bank.

Don Francis papers, MSS 2015-01

Donald P. Francis

Donald P. Francis

As an infectious disease trained pediatrician and epidemiologist, Dr. Francis has over 30 years of experience in epidemic control and vaccines. He spent 21 years working for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) focusing on vaccine-preventable diseases. Dr. Francis has worked on HIV/AIDS since its emergence in 1981. He initially directed the AIDS laboratory at the CDC and worked closely with the Institut Pasteur to identify the causative virus. His early efforts to call attention to the threat of AIDS and warn of the inadequacy of the public health response were chronicled in the book by Randy Shilts And the Band Played On. In 1992, he joined Genentech to spend full time developing vaccines, while he also helped found what became the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Dr. Francis co-founded VaxGen, which completed the world’s first Phase III trials of two candidate HIV vaccines in 2003. His papers include correspondence, news-clippings, research data and notes, conference and presentation materials, and ephemera.

AIDS Treatment News, MSS 94–28 – 2015 addition

This recent donation of more than 68 linear feet complements the ATN records that were transferred to the archives in 1994.

Title page of AIDS Treatment News, Issue #3, May 9, 1986

Title page of AIDS Treatment News, Issue #3, May 9, 1986

AIDS Treatment News (ATN) was a biweekly newsletter that reported on both orthodox and experimental treatments of AIDS-related conditions. AIDS Treatment News was frequently the first publication to investigate and write about potential new treatments, clinical trials, and the politics involved in government sanctioned and alternative therapeutics. It was a primary resource for community-based organizations and government agencies, and was also read by many physicians and scientists involved in AIDS research and care. These records include correspondence, telephone logs, presentations, minutes of meetings, photographs, and news clippings.

The mission of the UCSF AHP has broadened from the initial goal of identifying, surveying and describing at-risk records of educational and professional institutions, non-profit service organizations and ad hoc community-based organizations that emerged in San Francisco in the early years of AIDS epidemic.

The multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach to collection development has led UCSF Archives & Special Collections to create a complex and comprehensive AIDS history research collection that documents not only medical aspects of the epidemic, but also changes in cultural values and shifts in policy and social response. UCSF Archives is continuing to build an inclusive AIDS history research collection where patients, activists, researchers, clinicians, journalists, and community based organizations’ perspectives will be preserved and will allow current and future generations of researchers to examine and learn from these materials.

UCSF Archives poster (designed by Mark McGowan)

UCSF Archives poster (designed by Mark McGowan)

The need to preserve and provide access to these materials was reinforced by two recent initiatives:

Dan Royles posted a call to action in the October issue of the AHA’s Perspectives on History to teach AIDS history to undergraduates: https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/october-2016/silence-death-its-time-to-teach-aids-history

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory organized a meeting, “HIV/AIDS Research: Its History & Future” that brought together more than 125 pioneering scientists and clinicians who discussed the key scientific, epidemiological, and clinical discoveries that created this field and stressed the importance of preserving the past to find ways to address and control epidemics in the future: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/10/gathering-hivaids-pioneers-raw-memories-mix-current-conflicts

The archivists are collaborating with the UCSF AIDS Research Institute on collection development and public outreach efforts and today, to commemorate the World AIDS Day, we will be presenting two posters at the amfAR HIV Cure Summit at Mission Bay campus.

The UCSF Archives is open to anyone regardless of institutional affiliation, to make an appointment to see these materials, please use this contact form.

UCSF Archives Lecture: The Forgotten Epidemic: HIV/AIDS in Women and Children

Join us on Thursday, February 26th as Arthur Ammann, M.D., gives a lecture in a series launched by UCSF Archives & Special Collections.

Date: Thursday, February 26th, 2015
Time: 4 pm-5:20 pm
Location: Lange Room, UCSF Library, 530 Parnassus, 5th floor
This lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments provided.
Please RSVP to reserve a seat

Collage of lab data on first patients in 1981, MMWR report and 1982 San Francisco Chronicle article on first blood transfusion AIDS

Collage of lab data on first patients in 1981, MMWR report and 1982 San Francisco Chronicle article on first blood transfusion AIDS

Beginning in 1981 researchers at UCSF defined some of the most important features of the emerging AIDS epidemic – the cause of AIDS, the clinical features of AIDS, populations at risk for HIV infection, methods to prevent and treat HIV, and discovery of HIV. Working closely with community activists, advocates, scientists and policy makers, UCSF distinguished itself as a model of successful collaboration. The first discovery of AIDS in infants and children and blood transfusion associated AIDS at UCSF were instrumental in defining the extent of the epidemic. The scientific advances in HIV/AIDS that occurred over the next two decades were remarkable resulting in the near eradication of HIV in infants in the US and transforming an acute and fatal infection in adults to a chronic and manageable one. But even as these advances occurred benefiting many millions of people worldwide, women and children were too often excluded, resulting in a global epidemic that is now composed of over 50% women and children and a secondary epidemic of AIDS-related orphans that numbers in the tens of millions.

Arthur J. Ammann, M.D.

Arthur J. Ammann, M.D.

Arthur J. Ammann, M.D., is a founder of Global Strategies, a nonprofit organization that serves women and children in the most neglected areas of the world and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCSF.
From 1971 to 1985, Dr. Ammann was Director of Pediatric Immunology and Clinical Research Center at the UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco. In 1977, Dr. Ammann’s clinical trials of a pneumococcal vaccine resulted in the first FDA approval of a vaccine for bacterial pneumonia and meningitis in children and adults. In 1982 Dr. Ammann described two of the three ways that HIV is transmitted including the first cases of transmission of AIDS from mother to infant and the first blood transfusion associated AIDS patients.
Dr. Ammann has received honors from more than 60 national and international organizations including the United States Surgeon General Award for Research and Heroes in Medicine Award by the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care.
Dr. Ammann has authored over 300 scientific papers which have appeared in major medical journals. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Wheaton College (1958) and a doctor of medicine degree from New Jersey College of Medicine (1962).  He received residency training from the department of pediatrics at UCSF and fellowship training in immunology from the University of Minnesota Medical Center and the University of Wisconsin Medical Center.
Dr. Ammann’s oral history,“Pediatric AIDS Immunologist: Advocate for the Children” is accessible online and at the UCSF Library.

About the UCSF Archives & Special Collections Lecture Series
UCSF Archives & Special Collections launched this lecture series to introduce a wider community to treasures and collections from its holdings, to provide an opportunity for researchers to discuss how they use this material, and to celebrate clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals who donated their papers to the archives.

New AIDS history exhibits at the library

We would like to invite all of you to visit two new exhibits currently on view at the UCSF Library:

Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture
This banner exhibition utilizes a variety of historic photographs, pamphlets, and publications to illustrate how a group of people responded, or failed to respond, to HIV/AIDS. The title Surviving and Thriving comes from a book written in 1987 by and for people with AIDS that insisted people could live with AIDS, not just die from it. Jennifer Brier, the exhibition curator, explains that “centering the experience of people with AIDS in the exhibition allows us to see how critical they were, and continue to be, in the political and medical fight against HIV/AIDS.” Surviving and Thriving presents their stories alongside those of others involved in the national AIDS crisis. NLM curators used several images and documents from the UCSF Archives in the exhibit and its companion website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/survivingandthriving/. This travelling NLM exhibit will be at the library until January 4th, 2014. UCSF is the only location in the Northern California to host this exhibit. Please check this page for location and hours.

National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) travelling exhibit "Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture" on display at the UCSF library.

National Library of Medicine (NLM) travelling exhibit “Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture” on display at the UCSF library.

UCSF AIDS History Project: Documenting the Epidemic
The UCSF Archives and Special Collections organized a companion exhibit that showcases materials from the AIDS History Project (AHP). The AHP began in 1987 as a joint effort of historians, archivists, AIDS activists, health care providers, and others to secure historically significant resources about the response to the AIDS crisis in San Francisco. This collection includes selected records from numerous AIDS-related agencies and community-based organizations in the Bay Area, diaries from AIDS activists, papers of clinicians, health care workers, and researchers working at SFGH and UCSF, as well as materials collected by social scientists and journalists. AHP continues to grow and its collections remain the most heavily used among Archives’ manuscript holdings.

The original Ward 86 doctors: Paul Volberding, Connie Wofsy, and Donald Abrams. Photo from Ward 84/86 Records, MSS 94-61. Courtesy of UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

The original Ward 86 doctors: Paul Volberding, Connie Wofsy, and Donald Abrams.
Photo from Ward 84/86 Records, MSS 94-61. Courtesy of UCSF Archives and Special Collections.

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