More than Pushing Pills: Black AIDS Activism in the Bay Area, 1981-1997

12 Oct 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

470 Stephens Hall

Event Type

Antoine Johnson
Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University

This project traced Black AIDS activism in the Bay Area and how the layered crises of the crack cocaine epidemic, chronic joblessness, and poverty shaped HIV/AIDS prevention and education efforts. It also compares Black health activism with ways policymakers, local media outlets, and health professionals’ interventions and perspectives helped or hindered Black communities. Many local public health officials and journalists purported that poor and working-class African Americans’
behavior—particularly that of drug users, sex workers, gay men and men who had sex with men (but did not identify as gay)—placed them at greater risk for infection. Such an approach minimizes ways structural inequities contributed to African Americans’ disease susceptibility. As a result, Black activists—including but not limited to the California Prostitutes Education Project (CAL-PEP), the Black Coalition on AIDS, the AIDS Project of the East Bay (APEB), and religious leaders—paved the way for new, alternative, relevant methods of HIV/AIDS prevention, awareness, and outreach throughout the 1980s by contesting the (neo)liberalism of the acclaimed San Francisco Model of Care. Black organizers’ community care methods remain helpful for health departments failing to develop effective harm reduction tactics in low-income communities of color.

This event is sponsored by CSTMS.
Additional sponsorship comes from:  CSTMS

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