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Aetna AIDS collection

Identifier: M162

Scope and Content Note

The records include newspaper and magazine clippings, journal articles, conference proceedings, pamphlets, brochures, Congressional proceedings, and newsletters from 1986 through 1992. Almost all the materials are photocopies or fax copies of originals which were not included in the collection. Citations were, for the most part, handwritten on the photocopies by Aetna research. Topics covered include AIDS activism and education initiatives, epidemiology, the economics of the AIDS epidemic, housing for AIDS patients, hospice care, the particular problems of infected infants, children, and teens, AIDS activists, and national and international political activity concerning AIDS. There are some materials from international bodies such as the 3rd, 4th, and 5th International Conferences on AIDS Education; also included are photocopies of Congressional debates and actions concerning AIDS and copies of journal articles on AIDS research. The files also include information on individuals associated with the early years of the AIDS epidemic, including Robert Gallo, Anthony Fauci, and Jerry Falwell; grant-making organizations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and AIDS activist groups, including the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP).


  • Creation: 1986-1992
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1987-1990


Language of Materials

Materials mainly in English; some material in French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

The Aetna Insurance Company, founded in 1850 in Hartford, Connecticut, started collecting articles on AIDS, HIV infection, and related issues in 1986 to stay abreast of the latest health care crisis. The collection was originally intended to maintain current information in six subject areas: epidemiology, public policy, social issues, community issues, international issues, and business or workplace issues. The collection was created by Aetna staff in the Public Policy Issues Analysis Department as a research tool to help monitor the course of the epidemic. Professional research staff selected items for inclusion in the collection which was overseen by a single full-time staff member. The collection spans five years, from 1986 through the first months of 1992. The clippings go beyond the insurance ramifications of the disease and provide a broad overview of political, social, and cultural reactions to AIDS. The clippings are drawn chiefly from national newspapers, periodicals, and conferences and cover a variety of AIDS-related issues including homophobia, epidemiology, education, safe sex, gay rights, hospital care, health care workers, housing, and the effect of the AIDS epidemic on children, adolescents, and the elderly.


5.75 cubic feet (6 containers, 2 flat file folders)


The Aetna Insurance Company began collecting information on AIDS, HIV infection, and related issues in 1986 to stay abreast of the latest health care crisis. The collection was created and maintained by research staff at Aetna who made daily clippings from local, regional, and national newspapers and magazines and from national and international organization reports and conferences concerned with AIDS. Files were kept on AIDS, related issues, and key individuals concerned with the emerging epidemic until late 1991.


The records include photocopied newspaper and magazine clippings, journal articles, bibliographies, reports from research laboratories, pamphlets, brochures, and newsletters. While the majority of original publications are not included, full citations are noted in most cases. Topics include gay rights, discrimination against HIV-infected individuals, epidemiology, insurance, legal and legislative issues, surveys, Presidential politics, and medical research.

System of Arrangement:

The collection is organized alphabetically.

Physical Location

56/1-2, FF6/D5

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Received from Paul Lasewicz, Archivist, Corporate Information Center, Aetna Insurance.

Finding aid for the Aetna AIDS Collection
Finding aid prepared by Hanna Clutterbuck
June 2009
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US