Responding to AIDS - Home |
About this Exhibit - Introduction |
AIDS Emerges |
Poised to Respond |
New Programs: Working Together |
Responding to Fear |
The AIDS Prevention Project |
A Leader in Research, Education, and Housing
| Expanding Outreach | Needle Exchanges | The AIDS Omnibus Act: New Mandates | Safer Sex: The New Normal? | The Legacy | Gallery | Oral Histories | References and Resources
Responding to Fear
Fear Of Contagion
People needed accurate information about their risk of contracting AIDS. While discouraging unfounded fears, Public Health staff responded cautiously, as the disease was just beginning to be understood by the medical community.
Through various approaches—including town hall meetings, communication with local media, brochures, direct correspondence, and the AIDS hotline—the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health sought to educate the general public on the latest scientific understanding of AIDS, serving a critical role as public fear grew.
Privacy and Civil Rights
Fear of AIDS led to discrimination against people suspected of having the disease. There were calls for registration lists and quarantine of individuals suspected of being sick with AIDS. Loss of employment and housing were realistic concerns.
While Public Health worked closely with organizations such as the Seattle Gay Clinic, many in the gay community mistrusted the idea of a “surveillance” program, fearing that patient names might appear on government lists that could be used to discriminate against them based on their sexuality or illness. In 1983, the Department had to reassure the community that Seattle police were not maintaining lists of people with AIDS.
Responding to AIDS
Content warning: The archival records featured in this exhibit discuss sexual behavior and illegal drug use. Please direct questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright King County Archives, Seattle Washington, June 2016.
Please note: This exhibit features historical materials relating to HIV/AIDS. For current health information, please visit Public Health, Seattle & King County - HIV/AIDS and STD Prevention and Education.
Oral histories produced with support from a 2015 4Culture Heritage Projects Grant.