ensurING that stories and lessons of the epidemic are captured, curated, and retained for future generations.

In 2015, the National AIDS Memorial and the HIV Story Project launched a multi-year AIDS oral history project titled ‘Surviving Voices’ to ensure that stories and lessons of the epidemic are captured, curated, and retained for future generations. Although steeped in tragedy and prejudice, the story of AIDS is rich in relentless determination, and powerful in its success; a story with abundant lessons for current and future generations as they confront their own social justice challenges. From the first recognized cases in 1981 to now, AIDS is a story of communities, consciousness raising, hope, and determination. Through years of denial and avoidance by government and society to the anxious realization that the epidemic was out of control, communities gained their voices, expressed their outrage, and took action. AIDS is an inspiring social justice story that will empower marginalized communities for generations to come.

The Transgender Community & AIDS

In 2019, the Surviving Voices oral history project explored the impact of the AIDS pandemic on the transgender community. The videos and interviews in this collection shed a light on the experiences of transgender women and men as well as non-binary and gender non-conforming individuals with HIV & AIDS. They also honor the contributions of the members of this community (both HIV+ and HIV-) to the fight against AIDS.

The A&PI Community & AIDS

In 2018, Surviving Voices was dedicated to Asians and Pacific Islanders (A&PIs). The A&PI community is unique in that it includes people from all over the globe encompassing a multitude of diverse countries and cultures such as China and India, regions such as Southeast Asia and Pacific Island Countries & Territories such as Guam. Many different languages and even more dialects are spoken, which makes outreach and education a challenge. And yet A&PI activists and their allies not only established a network of successful A&PI focused HIV and AIDS organizations across the US, but in the process they helped in shaping and organizing groups at all levels to serve those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, that prior to AIDS had not existed within the A&PI community.

Women & AIDS

In 2017, Surviving Voices focused on women and HIV/AIDS. This diverse collection of videos is not limited to testimonies of HIV-positive women and the unique challenges they face, but also includes those of other women who have made significant contributions to the fight against AIDS as caregivers, nurses, doctors, scientists, advocates, and activists (“responders”).


In 2016, we captured stories from the national Hemophiliac Community, 50% of which perished between 1980 – 2010 due to a tainted blood supply. Below are interviews with 17 individuals who were central to the hemophiliac experience with HIV/AIDS.


The following are interviews with members of San Francisco’s Leather Community, who acted as “first responders” to the crisis. San Francisco’s Leather Community was the focus of our oral history work in 2015.

Other aids storytelling projects

The Recollectors: A storytelling site and community for the many children and families left behind by parents who died of AIDS.

UCSF Library AIDS Oral History Project: Aimed at capturing factual, contextual, and personal information that will enhance the written record, the AIDS Oral History Projects document the experience of physicians, nurses, and scientists who played key roles in the early years of the AIDS epidemic.

Act Up Oral History Project: A collection of interviews with surviving members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, New York.

Archives of American Art: Visual Arts and the AIDS Epidemic: An Oral History Project: A series of in-depth oral history interviews with key witnesses to the AIDS epidemic and its impact on the visual art community.

GLBT Historical Society Oral History Projects: The GLBT Historical Society sponsors a wide-scale oral history project to chronicle, preserve and share, including the history of ACT UP/San Francisco and other AIDS direct-action groups in the city.

UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office: Oral Histories on the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco.

UC Berkeley Bancroft Library Oral History Center: AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco Oral History Project: Intended to document events of 1981-1984 in the early history of the AIDS epidemic, focusing how decisions were made on biomedical, public health, and social and political issues pertaining to AIDS.

African American AIDS History Project: A crowd-contributed archive of African American responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It includes printed matter, posters, oral histories, and archival video.

National Institute of Health: In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS.

The University of Utah: American West Center College of Humanities: HIV/AIDS Oral History Project: As part of a broader goal to document the course of the AIDS epidemic in Utah, AWC affiliate faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Clement, Associate Professor of History, is conducting an oral history project that documents the medical, social, cultural, political and religious aspects of the epidemic in this very conservative place.

AIDS Activist History Project: hosted at Carleton University, is working with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives on documenting this history, in conjunction with AIDS activists across Canada.

Visual AIDS: utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving a legacy, because AIDS is not over.

The AIDS Memorial, Instagram: Stories of Love, Loss & Remembrance.

“We need to support all our brothers and sisters who are living with HIV/ AIDS.  Their lives are precious, and policy makers must ensure that there are enough qualified, dedicated health professionals to care, support, and guidance for them. Congress must continue to do our part to end HIV in the United States, and the HELP Act moves our country in the right direction.  We are in this together.”

       — U.S. Representative John Lewis (GA-5th District)

AIDS Storytelling Projects


2020 / 40 Stories

101 Faces of AIDS

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Our work helps ensure that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story of AIDS is known by future generations - so that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.

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Our work helps ensure that the lives of people who died from AIDS are not forgotten and the story of AIDS is known by future generations -
so that never again will a community be harmed because of fear, silence, discrimination, or stigma.