Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Vincent Cannato

Second Advisor

Roberta Wollons

Third Advisor

Timothy Hacsi


Community in a Time of Crisis focuses on the town of Provincetown, Massachusetts during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1983, local residents formed the Provincetown AIDS Support Group in order to assist the growing number of gay men living with HIV/AIDS in Provincetown. The formation of this organization launched a community wide effort to provide daily, medical, monetary, and emotional assistance to those in town who were affected by HIV/AIDS. As the epidemic worsened, the people of Provincetown strengthened. Eventually, a second organization, the Provincetown Positive People with AIDS Coalition, formed. Through the efforts of locals, staff, volunteers, and seasonal visitors, both organizations worked together to create a healing environment filled with cutting edge treatment options, various types of support, and acceptance at a time when the rest of American society often shunned those living with HIV/AIDS. In focusing on Provincetown’s history and demographics, it becomes clear why the town reacted so effectively and progressively.


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