HIV/AIDS in Utah: Oral History, Archives, and Stigma


Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships




For residence at the Utah AIDS Foundation, Salt Lake City, UT


In the 1980s, Utah had only one doctor willing to treat people with AIDS and only one hospital willing to admit them. This project explores how and why Dr. Ries, the nuns of Holy Cross Hospital, and Utah’s gay community battled the stigma of AIDS and homosexuality in conservative America and the crisis of caregiving it produced. Straddling the fields of public and academic history, this project includes the creation of an archival collection about the AIDS epidemic housed at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, an oral history project, a documentary film and a scholarly monograph titled "The Reckoning: AIDS in Conservative America." The archive and oral history project preserve evidence from the epidemic for future students and scholars to explore. The documentary and monograph begin the hard work of analyzing the epidemic and disseminating that analysis to the wider public in Utah and around the country.