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Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture

AIDS Action Committee

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The AIDS Action Committee (AAC) began in 1983 in the basement of Boston’s Fenway Community Health Center, one of the first clinics in the country to treat people with AIDS. For more than thirty years, AAC has focused on AIDS advocacy, prevention, and support for those living with the disease, even as the kinds of images and words used in public health campaigns have changed over time. Early publicity focused on reaching various populations in Boston and New England to fight potential discrimination against people with AIDS at the same time that AAC worked to share specific strategies for keeping a diverse range of people healthy. By offering clear and concrete advice to people whose behaviors put them at risk of contracting HIV as well as the general public, AAC’s inclusive campaigns helped to prioritize AIDS in local and national conversations. To date, the organization has worked with more than half of the people diagnosed with AIDS in Massachusetts.