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In Their Own Words: NIH Researchers Recall the Early Years of AIDS
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Unpublished Documents

Memorandum, July 30, 1981 - a memo from the CDC requesting NCI collaboration on studies of Kaposi's sarcoma and opportunistic infections, “a problem of significant public health concern and scientific importance.”

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Memorandum, August 6, 1981 - NCI announcement of a meeting on September 15, 1981, to develop a coordinated strategy regarding the etiology and treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Letter, August 17, 1981 - confirmation of Acting Director, Division of Cancer Treatment, NCI, as introducer at the Kaposi's sarcoma workshop on September 15, 1981.

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List, August 17, 1981 - of probable attendees at Kaposi's sarcoma workshop on September 15, 1981.

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Report, September 15, 1981 - summary of the workshop on Kaposi's sarcoma sponsored by NCI and CDC. Includes cover page, overview, attendee list, contents page and 21-page report.

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Report, October 13, 1981 - report to the record by researcher in Family Studies Section on Kaposi's sarcoma workshop of September 15, 1981.

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Memorandum, October 13, 1981 comment on Kaposi's sarcoma workshop.

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Notes, October 13, 1981 - on Kaposi's sarcoma workshop by researcher in Environmental Epidemiology Branch, NCI.

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Memorandum, October 13, 1981 - on Family Studies Section of NCIÍs proposed research studies on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Memorandum, November 3, 1981 - NCI protocols for Kaposi's sarcoma after September 15 workshop.

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Memorandum, January 7, 1982 - from Assistant Secretary for Health, PHS, to directors of NCI, NIAID, and NIDA about Kaposi's sarcoma and cooperation with the CDC.

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Letter, January 15, 1982 - from Director of NIAID to Assistant Secretary for Health, PHS, about NIAID work on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Memorandum, February 4, 1982 - from Acting Director, Division of Cancer Treatment, to Director of NCI about work on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Letter, February 18, 1982 - from Director, NCI, to Assistant Secretary for Health, PHS, about NCIÍs efforts to study Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Letter, February 23, 1982 - from Director, CDC, about meeting at CDC on March 3, 1982, on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Agenda, February 23, 1982 - for proposed March 3 meeting on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Memorandum, March 8, 1982 - on setup of Epidemiology Working Group on Kaposi's sarcoma at NCI.

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Memorandum, March 8, 1982 - on setup of Epidemiology Working Group on Kaposi's sarcoma at NCI.

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Summary, March-April 1982 - NCI's intramural studies on Kaposi's sarcoma and opportunistic infections syndrome.

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List, April 13, 1982 - witness list for Congressional Subcommittee on Health and Environment hearing on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Statement, April 13, 1982 - for the record on April 13 subcommittee hearing.

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Memorandum, June 8, 1982 - from Hospital Epidemiologist, Clinical Center, on recommendations for care of AIDS patients on NIAID protocols.

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Report, July 2, 1982 - to Director, NCI, about June 30, 1982, meeting on acquired immunodeficiency syndrome at New York City Health Department.

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Publication 24
Proposal, July 7, 1982 for Cooperative Agreement on project for Etiologic Studies of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome from NCI.

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Publication 25
Memorandum, July 13, 1982 - from chair on organization of the NIH Working Group.

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Memorandum, July 14, 1982 - from Director, NIH, on establishment of NIH Working Group on epidemic of acquired immunosuppression, opportunistic infections, and Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Memorandum, July 15, 1982 - follow-up to July 2, 1982, report on NIH response to epidemic.

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Publication 28
Summary, July 19, 1982 - of projects relating to AIDS on which Environmental Epidemiology Branch, NCI, is working.

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Agenda, July 20, 1982 - for meeting of NIH Working Group on Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Summary Minutes, July 20, 1982 - of NIH Working Group on Kaposi's sarcoma meeting.

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RFA Cooperative Agreement, August 13, 1982 - proposal by NCI on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (Kaposi's sarcoma) and Opportunistic Infections.

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Request, August 19, 1982 - by Assistant Secretary for Health, PHS, for increased effort by PHS agencies on AIDS.

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Report, September 10, 1982 - on NCI research activities on AIDS.

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Memorandum, September 27, 1982 - from Director, NIAID, to Director, NIH, on need to provide instructions on safe handling of specimens from AIDS patients.

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Memorandum, October 8, 1982 - response from Director, NIH, to September 27 memorandum.

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Letter, November 5, 1982 - to office of Congressman E. R. Roybal from Special Assistant to the Director, NIH, describing NIH research on AIDS.

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Memorandum, November 10, 1982 - from Assistant Chief, Clinical Center Critical Care Medicine Department, to Special Assistant to Director, NIH, on NIAID protocol to investigate AIDS.

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Report, December 1, 1982 - on presentations on AIDS at National Cancer Advisory Board meeting by Dr. Bruce Chabner, DCT, NCI, and Dr. James Curran, CDC.

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Memorandum, December 21, 1982 - from Director, CDC, announcing meeting at CDC on January 4, 1983, on AIDS prevention with special emphasis on blood and blood products.

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Summary Minutes, December 23, 1982 - of NIH Working Group on AIDS meeting on December 20 focusing on concern about transmission of AIDS through the blood supply.

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The AIDS Memorandum, 1983 - 1984 AIDS Memorandum was an informal NIAID newsletter of fast-tracked, unpublished information that circulated among the NIH scientists working on the disease.

The AIDS Memorandum was published in one volume of nine issues between August 1983 and December 1984 by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Dr. Ruth Levy Guyer, an immunologist on the staff of the NIAID Scientific Director, was editor of the publication.

The AIDS Memorandum was modeled on other scientific memoranda that had helped to “fast-track“ information on other puzzling diseases, leprosy and hepatitis, and on developments in interferon research. Publication in peer reviewed scientific journals meant considerable delay between the time of a discovery and awareness by others in the field. The AIDS Memorandum, like the other memoranda, printed non-peer reviewed material, preliminary data, negative observations, single-case reports, and other types of material not usually accepted in peer-reviewed publications.

Users of the AIDS Memorandum agreed to treat all material as privileged and subject to change before submission to a refereed journal. Users also agreed not to cite material without first obtaining the consent of the author(s) and to share material in the Memorandum only with other individuals willing to honor these ground rules.

By 1985, many peer reviewed journals recognized the AIDS epidemic as a crisis and began expediting publication of AIDS articles. At that point, NIAID judged that the AIDS Memorandum had served its purpose, and publication was discontinued.

AIDS Memorandum, Issue One: August, 1983
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Two:   October, 1983
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Three:   January, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Four:   April, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Five:   May, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Six:   June, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Seven:   August, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Eight:   October, 1984
AIDS Memorandum, Issue Nine:   December, 1984

Special Request

 

 
     
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