AIDS In Oral History – Looking Back at 30 Years of the Epidemic (VIDEO)


This past Pride Week has marked some amazing events, from passage of Marriage Equality in New York, to a President ducking that issue while visiting the city, to that same President marking National HIV Testing Day and preparing to host a White House Pride reception.

This Pride also marks the 30th anniversary of the AIDS epidemic, which has killed over 33 million people worldwide. Marking the occasion, the New York Public Library’s Mid-town branch is hosting an event tonight called “AIDS in Oral History: Doctors and Activists Look Back on 30 Years of the Epidemic,” featuring the work of two historians on this subject.

The discussion tonight will feature Jim Hubbard, co-director of the ACT UP Oral History, Columbia Prof. Gerald Oppenheimer, co-author of AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic, and sample interviews from very different but equally fascinating archives.

The ACT UP Oral History is a repository of conversations with people who’ve fought HIV/AIDS over the the last three decades. It features written transcripts and video interviews with everyone from ACT UP founder Larry Kramer (“I have no doubt that those fucking drugs are out there because of ACT UP — and that’s our greatest achievement”) to activists like Peter Staley, who talks about invading the New York Stock Exchange to publicize the plague.

The event will also feature interviews from Columbia’s Center for Oral History and from the interactive HIV Story Project, a fluid look at the disease, which includes interviews with people affected by HIV/AIDS in very different ways, including families who just want to prevent their children from becoming infected and people who’ve been been living with it for years.

The talk is happening tonight at 6:30 Mid-Manhattan Library on Fifth Avenue and 40th Street.