GHAP Documentation, Correspondence, and Promotional Items
Slowing the epidemic and its impact at Columbia meant spreading the facts, having direct discussions, providing counseling and support, and making it sexy to practice safer sex.
Below are some of the documents that have been saved through the years regarding GHAP's founding, research and activism, and promotions for the events the group held on Columbia's campus.
If you have any documentation that you think belongs in the archive, please contact us.
Columbia AIDS Committee Report
At Columbia, an employee sued the University in 1983, citing employment discrimination due to perceived HIV status. This led two years later to the formation of a University Committee on AIDS, bringing together representatives from various schools and administrative departments, with the intention of creating a university-policy on AIDS. On this committee were Paul Harding-Douglas, a gay graduate student studying computer science, and Laura Pinsky, at the time a new employee of Columbia’s counseling service. The two would co-found the Gay Health Advocacy Project (GHAP) in October of 1985.
Below are the reports that resulted from the AIDS Committee's work, as well as an AIDS Information Pamphlet which was created largely from research conducted by Laura and Paul and that was marketed nationwide as a resource. It would serve as the basis for The Essential HIV/AIDS Fact Book that Laura and Paul would eventually publish.
GHAP Behind the Scenes
Documents related to formation of GHAP, including requests for funding and proposed curriculae, as well as meeting notes, plans and other materials.
These meeting notes provide a detailed account of the overview of AIDS that Laura Pinsky would delivery when explaining the disease to others. The idea was to pass on the knowledge to the rest of the team to help disseminate.
Student Communications, Questionnaires & Forms
Copies of communications about AIDS sent to students, questionnaires from student education sessions, and a form used to register students for counseling.
Education & Awareness Flyers and Posters
In addition to student counseling and HIV testing, student education and awareness was one of the primary goals of GHAP at Columbia.
Below are some of the posters, flyers, and other advertisements the team used over the years to raise awareness and encourage students to attend events.
Promoting a session providing HIV/AIDS information specifically tailored to women of color. The session was co-hosted by Laura Pinsky of GHAP and Suki Ports, the Vice-Chair of National Minority AIDS Council.
"AIDS: Improving the Odds" Panel Discussion
In 1987, Laura Pinsky and Paul Harding Douglas of GHAP moderated a panel discussion that brought together researchers, doctors, and other HIV/AIDS experts to meet with students and the community for open discussion.
Video was taken of the entire panel discussion, which was held in front of a full house. It is available in seven parts below:
Oral Sex Conference
On February 6, 1994, GHAP sponsored a conference entitled Oral Sex and Possible HIV Transmission. The Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) co-sponsored the event, which was held at Columbia's Miller Theater with an audience of more than 500 attendees. The program consisted of a series of speakers presenting available scientific data, and a panel of community members discussing psychological, social, and educational aspects of the issue. There was extended time for questions and lively discussion from the audience.
A highlight of the conference was a presentation about the mechanics of transmission by oral sex. The speakers were Jeffrey Laurence, M.D., (New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center), Alison Quayle, Ph.D. (Harvard University) and Peter Schlegel, M.D., and Gerard Ilaria, A.C.S.W. (New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center).
Dr. Ilaria had conducted a study without funding, simply relying on the goodwill of colleagues and peers to provide the lab time and run the tests. The subjects in the study also volunteered their time. It was the kind of cooperation that often happened during the epidemic, because everyone was so hungry for answers and wanted to provide the correct information to their patients and the general public. Ilaria's study showed that there was a risk of passing HIV on to a sexual partner via pre-ejaculate fluid, even if orgasm and full ejaculation did not occur. This information provided a much clearer picture of what constituted safe sex and the risk factors associated with oral sex and penetrative sex.
The study was included in the press release that GHAP and GMHC published about the Conference.