The King County Archives in Seattle, Washington (new members of AASLH) announces publication of its new online exhibit, Responding to AIDS: The Seattle-King County Department of Public Health, 1982-1996, at

The exhibit tells how Seattle-King County became a national leader in AIDS prevention, education, research, and support for quality care, through forward-thinking leadership, innovative programs, and engagement with the communities most affected by AIDS.

Ten video-recorded oral history interviews with current and former Public Health employees—leadership and staff from the AIDS Prevention Project—were produced for the project with funding from a 2015 4Culture Heritage Project grant. Archival documents, photographs, graphics, and audio, along with the oral histories, document Public Health’s response to the AIDS epidemic, from its emergence in 1982, to 1996, when the epidemic reached a turning point.

By 1996, over 3,000 people in King County had died of AIDS.  Today, in 2016, it may be hard to recall or imagine the level of fear and controversy around AIDS as it emerged as a major public health crisis.  Responding to AIDS touches on many issues that arose at the time, such as privacy and civil rights, AIDS education in schools, the challenge of reaching disadvantaged and minority populations, the stigma of being HIV-positive, and rights for LGBT individuals.


The King County Archives

Located in Seattle, Washington, the King County Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to historical records of King County government.  The Archives supports civic engagement and governmental transparency by providing public access to historical County records, which document the county’s people, culture, land, infrastructure, and governance.

Through online exhibits, the Archives seeks to foster appreciation and understanding of King County’s ongoing history and of King County government’s role in the community, as well as to promote public use of its collection for research.