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NIH launches online AIDS oral history project

"We received a referral to the NIH, in June of 1981, of a patient D who, as we shall discuss, turned out to be the first patient seen at NIH with AIDS." Dr. Thomas Waldmann

"I made the decision that we would have to switch over to research on this disease [AIDS] because, as every month went by, I became more convinced that we were dealing with something that was going to be a disaster for society." Dr. Anthony S. Fauci

What did researchers think, feel, and do when AIDSeventually traced to a smoldering new virus that would wreak havoc worldwidefirst emerged? To commemorate the twentieth anniversary on June 5th of the first publication about AIDS, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the launch of a new Web site titled "In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS" (http://aidshistory.nih.gov). The site features compelling stories told in the transcripts of interviews NIH Historian Victoria A. Harden, Ph.D., conducted with physicians, scientists, nurses, and administrators involved in AIDS research at NIH. The voices of some of them can be heard in audio clips featured in brief chapters highlighting their first encounters with AIDS patients, the discovery of HIV, the search for treatments, and other aspects of AIDS research at NIH in the 1980s.

An ongoing project, the site will be updated over time with more oral histories and other archival material. It is a window into the world of biomedical science for the public, and it is expected to be a valuable resource for scholars, students, the media, and policy makers interested in the history of AIDS research.

"As a historian of science and medicine working in an institution leading the world in formulating a response to a new infectious disease," comments Dr. Harden, "I thought it was imperative to document and preserve what was happening here." She began the AIDS history project in 1988, shortly after the NIH es
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Contact: Laurie K. Doepel
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
3-Jun-2001


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