The People of Color Against AIDS NetworkThe People of Color Against AIDS Network (POCAAN), a Seattle-based, multi-racial community coalition, provided HIV/AIDS education and training aimed at Latino, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American communities. King County’s administrative director for AIDS programs, Patricia McInturff (formerly Patricia Canova), saw that the AIDS epidemic would not spare communities of color. She supported POCAAN’s principles and committed the Public Health Department to working closely and often with the group. In one early collaborative project, POCAAN, using seed money from the AIDS Prevention Project, created the 1988 “Famous Last Words” educational campaign to increase awareness of AIDS among people of color.
Patricia McInturff talks about the need to reach communities who had fewer resources and political connections than did gay activist organizations. (Oral history interview, September 2015.)
“POCAAN’s coalition building effort is to bring people together across color, gender, sexual orientation, agency affiliation and community lines. POCAAN provides a forum for dispelling myths and fears, and for enabling people of color to work together in unity….We must confront the effects of the isolation caused by homophobia in communities of color, and by the racism of the gay/lesbian community.” — from POCAAN’s mission statement
Karen Hartfield describes how Public Health worked with POCAAN. (Oral history interview, August 2015.)
At risk and hard to reachIn 1989 the federal Centers for Disease Control renewed the APP’s original Community Demonstration Project Grant. The grant expanded the program to target hard-to-reach populations, including street youth and sex industry workers. The candid personal stories used by outreach programs such as Street Kids AIDS Training and Education (SKATE) and Girlfriends Talking reflected the reality of people’s lives.
Street Kids AIDS Training & EducationWith funding from Public Health, POCAAN produced a series of posters that shared stories from homeless youth learning to adopt condom use and other STD prevention strategies.
People in dangerKaren Hartfield outlines the groups who were at the highest risk of contracting AIDS and who were the focus of the APP’s outreach and education programs.
The Girlfriends Talking campaign was directed at African American women who were disproportionately affected by AIDS, including women using drugs or working in the sex industry.
1987290 new cases of AIDS
Barriers to AIDS Education
Karen Hartfield, APP Education Team Coordinator and founding board member of POCAAN, describes perceptions about AIDS among African Americans in the mid-1980s, when she directed a sexuality education program for parents and their children for the Seattle Urban League. (Oral history interview, August 2015.)
Robert Wood posits that gay stigma prevents some members of minority communities from obtaining early HIV testing and treatment today. (Oral history interview, August 2015.)
Outreach to Latinos and Native Americans
Public Health also supported POCAAN campaigns oriented toward the Latino and Native American communities. The posters below were published in partnership with the Seattle Indian Health Board, the Coalition of Latinos in Washington against AIDS, and the Northwest AIDS Foundation and Planned Parenthood.
1988219 new cases