Only Your Calamity: The Beginnings of Activism by and for People with AIDS, Joe Wright, MD, American Journal of Public Health (2013)

Research and Journal Articles

This journal article discusses the origins and progression of HIV/AIDS activism in the United States in the 1980s. The author explains how the stigma and the phenomenon of "social death" (in which people are considered "as good as dead") directed at both gay and straight people with AIDS contributed to advocacy and organized political response during the early years of the epidemic. The movement transcended sexual orientation at a time when the gay community was still fighting for rights and recognition of its own. This article is a helpful introduction to the key players and milestones of early HIV/AIDS advocacy in the United States – including the 1983 Denver Principles, a Statement from the Advisory Committee of People with AIDS, and the formation of ACT UP – as well as the effect that the diagnoses carried at that time.