Since the Ryan White CARE Act was enacted in 1990, providers and administrators in the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program have collaborated closely with people living with HIV/AIDS to build the comprehensive array of services that exists today. An oral and visual history of this 20-year collaboration appears on this portion of our Web site, entitled “Ryan White Voices”—in the form of audiotaped conversations, video, and photography involving clients and all those who care for them.
All of the people who have participated in “Ryan White Voices” have been motivated by the desire to share their insights and stories—sometimes anonymously, and in other cases, publicly, and always with candor, generosity, courage, and hope.
The multimedia presentation entitled “A Legacy of Care” is one such example. Prepared for the opening plenary of the August 2010 Ryan White All-Grantee Meeting, the documentary is a compilation of conversations with more than three dozen HIV/AIDS providers, administrators, and community advocates, as they recollect the early years of the epidemic, the historic effort to garner support for a Federal Government-sponsored program involving States, cities, and communities all across the country, and the untold challenges of building a unique model of care to meet the complex needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
These conversations are reinforced by archival photography covering the first appearance of the disease in the United States, the challenges and triumphs leading to passage of the Ryan White CARE Act, and the implementation of the Program over time. Archival images appear alongside recent photographs documenting the interactions and relationships among Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program providers and clients nationwide. Specific information about the images and more extensive audiotaped interviews also appear on this portion of the Web site.
As a counterpart to “A Legacy of Care” and its focus on the remembrances of providers and administrators, “Ryan White Voices” also features conversations dedicated to capturing the diverse voices of Ryan White consumers. “Living With HIV,” for example, is a compilation of interviews of Program clients as they recount their struggles and successes living with the disease.
“Ryan White Voices” also features a series of documentaries focusing on individual consumers who have chosen to talk about their personal journeys—finding out they have been infected, coming to terms with those revelations, seeking new sources of compassion and support from others, and discovering the personal courage to rebuild their lives.
“Ryan White Voices” represents a small fraction of the vast chorus of Program providers, administrators, community advocates, and clients, who come from every culture, every region of the United States, and every walk of life. These stories deepen our understanding of important refrains in the history of the epidemic. More often than not, they also point the way to the future. And the more we listen, the more we learn about how that future needs to look.