AIDS in New York: The First Five Years

by Stephanie Holmquist

This image was on display as part of AIDS in New York: The First Five Years New-York Historical Society from June 07, 2013 - September 15, 2013
This image was on display as part of AIDS in New York: The First Five Years
New York Historical Society
June 7, 2013 – September 15, 2013

It’s just a snapshot of a group of men, at a glance one can see it’s from 30 or so years ago. You might guess it’s a group of gay men, something about the mustaches, the clothes, the shirtless man in the foreground. None of them is yet fully middle aged. If you didn’t know otherwise, the smiles and camaraderie signal an evening ahead of dinner, wine, talk—an ordinary happy occasion.

But then there are the name tags. The photo, from a conference of activists in Denver in 1983, marks a turning point in the modern patient empowerment movement. This small group of men gave us the Denver Principles—the landmark response from the gay community to the crisis in medicine and medical ethics of the early 1980’s. They called themselves “people with AIDS,” neither victims nor patients, but whole persons who expected to be treated as such.

National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), the organizational home of the Denver Principles, dissolved this year. The ethos of the Denver Principles lives on for PWA and HIV and also in the general expectation of patient empowerment and dignity for all kinds of “people with…” and others facing medical challenges.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s