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Guide to the AIDS Healing Alliance Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: AIDS Healing Alliance records
    Dates: 1983-1989
    Collection number: 1991-6
    Creator: AIDS Healing Alliance
    Collection Size: 1 linear foot 2 manuscript boxes
    Repository: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society
    San Francisco, California 94105
    Abstract: Records of a self-help alternative treatment organization that dissolved in 1989. This group promoted awareness of alternative therapies in treating HIV infection and conducted workshops conducted by long-term survivors.
    Physical location: Stored at the Archives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society in San Francisco, California.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials created by the donor has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Preferred Citation

    AIDS Healing Alliance records, 1991-06, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated to the Historical Society by Steve Kuttner, January 25, 1991.

    Biography / Administrative History

    The AIDS Healing Alliance (AHA) was a pioneering self-help organization founded in 1986. The group's stated purpose was to "dispel the myth that AIDS or ARC inevitably result in death." The organization had several key goals: establish a network of long-term survivors, provide a forum where their knowledge of the successful use of alternative therapies could be shared, catalog all available alternative therapies, and promote the concept that health management is a personal responsibility. As one member, Steve Kuttner, put it, "We operated from the philosophy that disease is more than a physical crisis; it presents some kind of personal lesson which offers an opportunity for inner healing as well as outer cure." Through workshops, a phone line and the "First AIDS Pack," the organization attempted to collect and disseminate information on treatments, clinics or practitioners who were having some success in retarding or curing the condition of AIDS. They also developed an in-depth, long-term survivor's questionnaire (though this was never actually administered). The group was particularly interested in the scientific literature on the etiology and epidemiology of the disease and on potential treatments and how these treatments were tested and developed. Notably, the group refused to subscribe to the view that HIV was the proven cause of AIDS, that AIDS had a single cause or that AIDS was the same disease in every person. The organization dissolved in 1989.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Records of the AIDS Healing Alliance consist of the internal records, correspondence, information packets, surveys, grant proposals, correspondence, and information regarding "alternative therapies" for AIDS treatment produced by the organization. The records document AHA's efforts to find alternative approaches to treating and curing AIDS. This collection documents one response to the AIDS epidemic - one that was skeptical of mainstream medicine -- as well as the uncertainty and unease which particularly characterized the first decade of the epidemic.


    The collection is arranged in 4 series: Activities, Related Organizations, Administration, and Alternative Therapies.

    Indexing Terms

    AIDS Healing Alliance
    AIDS (Disease) Alternative treatment United States
    AIDS (Disease) San Francisco History
    AIDS (Disease) Etiology.