Early Days of AIDS Epidemic are in New Exhibit

The prejudice, confusion and political struggle that marked the Aids epidemic in New York in the early 80s are the subject of a new exhibit.

A show opening on Friday at the New York Historical Society on the Upper West Side features things like photographs, posters, diaries and video clips that document the first years of the disease.

An accompanying exhibit displays pictures of children with Aids. They were taken by photographer Claire Yaffa between 1990 to 2002 at Incarnation Children Center in Washington Heights. She says all but one of the children died, and she wants New Yorkers to know their story. "If I've done anything for this children, at least people know they were here, you know, they did live," she said.

Jacob Siegel is 12 years old and he was visiting the show with his mom Meg. He says he was shocked to read about the initial misinformation that marked the disease. "It's really sad that nobody did anything at first. Like this is a whole area of prejudice, silence, darkness, the dark ages of HIV. And you can really see why," he said.

The exhibit goes until September 15th.

Fighting for our Lives: An AIDS Candlelight March, May 2, 1983
Fighting for our Lives: An AIDS Candlelight March, May 2, 1983 ( David Emfinger )
A group advocating AIDS research marches down Fifth Avenue during the 14th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride parade in New York, June 27, 1983.
A group advocating AIDS research marches down Fifth Avenue during the 14th annual Lesbian and Gay Pride parade in New York, June 27, 1983. ( Mario Suriani/Associated Press )
Parents Protesting Board of Education, 1985
Parents Protesting Board of Education, 1985 ( Frank Fournier )
Tracy, ca. 1990-91
Tracy, ca. 1990-91 ( Claire Yaffa )
Anthony, ca. 1990-1992
Anthony, ca. 1990-1992 ( Claire Yaffa )
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