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Exhibition

AIDS is Not Over

The challenges posed by AIDS today are complex. Treatments exist but are not uniformly available. Debates persist about what prevention strategies are politically acceptable. People with AIDS and their advocates have made lasting changes to contain the epidemic and provide access to lifesaving treatments, but serious obstacles’ including poverty and societal violence–preclude many from staying healthy. Dedicated health professionals continue to work alongside longtime activists. Together, they struggle to develop new ways to care for people living with HIV/AIDS and prevent the disease from spreading.

  • Dr. Cargill in white lab coat, talking with a patient.

    Victoria Cargill, MD (right) with a patient at a Washington, DC community health center, February 2013

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Dr. Victoria Cargill first encountered AIDS in Boston in 1981, before the term even existed. The experience changed her life, and she has spent her career caring for people with AIDS, particularly those who are most vulnerable. Dr. Cargill came to Washington, DC in 1998 and continued her HIV/AIDS work at a community health center in Southeast Washington, an area with an infection rate of more than 12 percent. Today, Dr. Cargill is the director of Minority Research and Clinical Studies at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of AIDS Research.

  • Series of black and white drawings depicting a man and woman’s disagreement.

    La Decisión I, New York City Department of Health, 1990

    Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

    Produced by the New York City Health Department and funded by the federal government to reach Spanish- and English-speaking subway riders, this comic ran for more than a decade and on more than six thousand train cars. La Decisión serialized the story of Marisol, a Latina struggling with her boyfriend, Julio, over using a condom and watching friends die from AIDS.

  • Series of black and white drawings depicting two men’s conversation.

    La Decisión II, New York City Department of Health, 1990

    Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

    Produced by the New York City Health Department and funded by the federal government to reach Spanish- and English-speaking subway riders, this comic ran for more than a decade and on more than six thousand train cars. La Decisión serialized the story of Marisol, a Latina struggling with her boyfriend, Julio, over using a condom and watching friends die from AIDS.

  • New York City subway interior, white and black La Decisión comic panels along ceiling of car.

    View of New York City subway car depicting part of the La Decisión serialized story, April 6 1993

    Courtesy AP/Paul Huschmann

    Produced by the New York City Health Department and funded by the federal government to reach Spanish- and English-speaking subway riders, this comic ran for more than a decade and on more than six thousand train cars. La Decisión serialized the story of Marisol, a Latina struggling with her boyfriend, Julio, over using a condom and watching friends die from AIDS.

  • Four shirtless men of East and South Asian descent.

    “We Choose to Play Safe Every Time” poster, produced by the Asian and Pacific Islander Partnership for Health, 1997

    Courtesy Asian and Pacific Islander Partnership for Health and HAHSTA (HIV/;AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, TB Administration), District of Columbia Department of Health

    This public health advertisement echoed prevention campaigns of the 1980s by picturing men embracing one another and calling on them to use condoms. By the late 1990s, it was critical to reach men of East and South Asian descent, many of whom believed that Asians were not at risk, so that they could take action to keep themselves healthy.

  • Elderly couple with image of condom and “Rubber Revolution” at two right corners.

    “Rubber Revolution” poster, District of Columbia Department of Health, 2011

    Courtesy HAHSTA (HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, TB Administration), District of Columbia Department of Health

    Today, Americans age fifty-five and older are among the fastest growing populations of people with AIDS. To address this, the District of Columbia Department of Health supports awareness campaigns to educate older residents about sexual health.

  • Three uniformed women holding yellow “Ask for the Test” sign.

    “Ask for the Test” poster, District of Columbia Department of Health, 2012

    Courtesy HAHSTA (HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, TB Administration), District of Columbia Department of Health

    In the 21st century, testing for HIV is the first line of defense in the battle against AIDS. But when the test was released in 1985, many people refused for fear that their names would go on a registry to deny them health care. Municipal unions in Washington, DC are at the forefront of fighting this persistent myth and explaining how testing helps keep people healthy.