Positive history: preserving the archives of HIV/AIDS: care and testimony


  • London Metropolitan Archives, United Kingdom

Project summary

The aim of this project is to make accessible for research three recently acquired archive collections held by London Metropolitan Archives which together illuminate two important threads of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and its aftermath: pioneering medical treatment, care and support; and lived experience of not only those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, but their carers, partners, relatives and friends. They comprise: Mildmay Hospital archive including 4000 patient case files; 103 interviews of people with AIDS, their families, partners and carers, filmed by the  AIDS Since the 80s project; and the archive of peer-led support charity Positively UK (formerly Positively Women).

The key outcomes will be: freely available online catalogues to item level of all three archives; a research database of key information extracted from the Mildmay Hospital case files, and full digital access to the 150 hours of filmed interviews supported by time-coded summaries, transcriptions and captioning. The archives, and the areas they inform such as the history of sexuality, science and medicine, as well as social and cultural change, and the methodologies used to make them discoverable, will be promoted through a conference, two professional skill-sharing events and two film-screenings, building on existing demonstrable interest in these archives.