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Surviving & Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture

U.S. Conference of Mayors and Municipal AIDS Projects

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The U.S. Conference of Mayors established an AIDS project in 1984 at the urging of then mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein, the municipal leader of one of the cities most seriously affected by AIDS. From her position at the helm of the city where gays, lesbians, and people with AIDS developed models of care, treatment, and prevention, Feinstein persuaded her fellow mayors to extend San Francisco—style efforts to cities nationwide. This brought much-needed information and support to areas not thought of as gay centers, but nonetheless had growing local AIDS epidemics. Local AIDS projects, including those in Milwaukee and Denver, used the San Francisco model of combining calls for prevention and care to focus on the needs of different populations within their cities and present explicit information about safer sex and intravenous drug use. This was particularly essential after 1987, when the United States government ceased providing federal funding to campaigns deemed supportive of homosexuality and drug use