Scope and Content
Title: AIDS Treatment News,
Date (inclusive): 1986-1993 (bulk 1985-1994)
Collection number: MSS 94-28
Creator: AIDS Treatment News
Extent: Volume: 4 cu ft
University of California, San Francisco. Library. Archives and Special Collections
San Francisco, California 94143-0840
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], AIDS Treatment News, MSS 94-28, Archives & Special
Collections, UCSF Library & CKM
Scope and Content
AIDS Treatment News has frequently been the first publication to investigate and write
about potential new treatments, clinical trials, and the politics involved in government
sanctioned and alternative therapeutics. It is a primary resource for community-based
organizations and government agencies, and is also read by many physicians and scientists
involved in AIDS research and care.
The records included in this collection primarily document how this information is
gathered and provides a rough daily chronology of developments in AIDS treatments over a
five year period (1987-1991).
The largest and most detailed series is the set of telephone logs kept by John James.
These are mostly spiral-bound notebooks with notes written in long-hand on one side of
each page. Each notebook generally contains about one month's calls. Entries are a few
lines to several pages in length; headings include date and person calling (or called
-there are no indications of who initiated the calls) and sometimes a one or two word
identification of the subject discussed is in the left margin. Calls discuss meetings,
published and unpublished papers, current research, methodologies employed, anecdotal
experiences with treatment modalities, politics, and plans for future articles and
The next series includes both sent and received correspondence. These are almost
certainly only a small fraction of the mail that actually went in or out during the years
listed. They include correspondence on most of the same subjects addressed in the
telephone logs. Included are flyers from 1986 that are not particularly unique, yet do
provide a sample of advertisements and announcements received during this year.
A series of writings by and information about, John James contains information best
viewed as background information on James, his activities, and his thinking process. Many
of the documents are not labeled or dated, a factor that might limit their use to some
researchers. Biographical material on James is focused on his professional work and
activities related to AIDS.
The ATN Operations series is limited by the nature of ATN itself. This is a small,
loosely run organization. Decisions are often made informally and oftentimes have not
been recorded for posterity. Meeting minutes and related documents are scanty, and none
have been found from ATN's earlier years. The period from 1990 to 1992 seems to have been
one in which attempts were made to function more formally, and almost all of the
documents in this series stem from that period.
A series on meetings and issues contains notes by James on six conferences or meetings,
the President's Cancer Panel, and the issues of supposed "cures", fraud, and long-term
survival. A final folder contains seven papers or essays by as many authors.
The series of photographic images, mostly slides, document protests, marches, and AIDS
contingents in the 1988 San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade. There are also
sets of black and white prints and color slides documenting the interior of the ATN
offices on Church Street. Four of the slides show damage to the office from the 1989 Loma
The final series is composed of each issue of AIDS Treatment News from it's inception in
April of 1986 to nearly the end of 1994. As mentioned above, ATN was originally published
as a column in a gay newspaper, the Sentinel (and later Bay Times). When it began to
publish as an independent newsletter in 1987, James went back and reformatted his
original columns into the first several issues of the newsletter. In addition, long runs
of issues have been reprinted in book form to increase its utilization in libraries, but
nothing was added in the process. This run, therefore, is inclusive of all of James'
published work on AIDS treatments through mid-November, 1994. Two indexes which were
produced in 1991 and 1992 are included; no others have been created to date.
AIDS Treatment News (ATN) is a biweekly newsletter that reports on both
orthodox and experimental treatments of AIDS-related conditions. Information is gleaned
through interviews with scientists, physicians and other health professionals, people
with AIDS/HIV, information learned at meetings and conferences, medical journals and
computer searches, and through extensive discussions in person and on the telephone.
ATN originated in the mid-1980s in a split from
Mobilization Against AIDS.Another organization that broke away from Mobilization at that time was
Documentation of AIDS Issues and Resources (DAIR), which in turn spawned
Project Inform. All of these were community-based organizations formed
primarily by gay men.
AIDS Treatment News began publishing in May of 1986, in the form of a biweekly column
penned by its creator, John James. The column first appeared in the
San Francisco Sentinel, a local gay newspaper, where it was featured for
over two years. In January of 1989 it moved to a monthly San Francisco lesbian and gay
Bay Times. Since 1987 ATN has also been published as an
independent newsletter. In 1994 it had a paid circulation of about 5,000 and a staff of
five. The staff has varied in size but has generally included about six people.
Volunteers have seldom been utilized in the office but dozens of informants gather facts
and leads and pass them on to John James. James is the editor, publisher and creative
genius of ATN. His unrelenting information gathering at meetings and conferences, in
interviews, through correspondence, and especially in telephone conversations, provides
most of the knowledge upon which ATN articles are based.