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
The AIDS Prevention Project
Scientific progress: HIV Testing
In 1984, scientists discovered the HIV virus, the cause of AIDS, and developed an experimental antibody test. The test was offered by the AIDS Assessment Clinic and the Seattle Gay Clinic. The Puget Sound Blood Center, in conjunction with the Public Health Department, became a leader in developing blood screening policies.
Controversy around testing
When the HIV test became available, medical treatment was limited. People debated testing’s potential benefits and risks.
The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), impressed with both Seattle-King County’s ability to obtain local public funding for AIDS work and its collaboration with community groups, awarded the Public Health Department one of the first AIDS Prevention Demonstration Project Grants in the United States, along with Dallas, Denver, Long Beach and New York.
The grant of $365,000 developed model programs: AIDS education for the general public and prevention and control projects among one of the groups of King County citizens at highest risk: men who had sex with men (by far the largest group.) The grant also provided coordination and support for community-based AIDS services, such as the medical resources program of the Northwest AIDS Foundation. A second CDC grant of $70,000 funded epidemiological work.
The Seattle-King County Department of Public Health had made the decision to assume the lead role in applying for and allocating outside funding for local programs. External funding for surveillance, prevention, public education, and support for persons with AIDS would all come through Public Health, with partner organizations as subcontractors. Public Health’s leadership assured that there were no conflicting proposals nor duplication of services.
The grant allowed the Public Health Department to expand its AIDS Program into a more consolidated and independent unit: the AIDS Prevention Project (APP).
The project originally had a staff of thirteen: a medical director, a project coordinator, an epidemiologist, a health educator, two information/outreach specialists, two nurse-practitioners, two health advisors (counselors), and a front office staff of three.
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.