Today we share a two part news story that provides a snapshot of how Dallas perceived the threat of AIDS in November 1985. The logbook title given to this story is “AIDS/Lifestyle,” which references the belief that the gay community, one of the first populations hit by the AIDS epidemic, caused the disease with their “alternate lifestyle.” In the 1980s and 1990s, those afflicted with HIV and AIDS experienced extreme ostracization, due to fear that they could easily spread the disease through casual contact. Reporter Bob Siegel’s story attempts to dispel these fears by putting a human face on the AIDS epidemic. As a doctor interviewed for the piece states, “The question is whether we choose to compound the epidemic of illness with an epidemic of fear and of ignorance and repression.”
Our current exhibit, Threads of Remembrance, further explores Dallas’s response to the AIDS crisis. It can be viewed Monday – Saturday (excepting Thanksgiving weekend) from 9 AM – 5 PM through December 15, 2017. Or you can browse our online exhibit.
You’ll notice a few visual flaws in the footage presented here. These flaws result from the recording medium, 3/4 tape, also called “U-matic” tape, which is prone to significant degradation. Luckily we were able to save this important story before a total loss.