The ClubHouse and AIDS

The ClubHouse community was hit hard by AIDS in the 1980s. Membership rolls were decimated by the loss of members to illness and death.  In the uncertainty of the late 80s, as the community struggled to understand and cope with the epidemic in its midst, The ClubHouse stepped up to help.

The managers offered their space for the African American community's first AIDS educational forum on Wednesday September 28, 1983, organized by the DC Coalition of Black Gays and the Whitman-Walker Clinic.  The forum was a precedent-setting outreach to an African American and Third World community that at the time considered HIV/AIDS to be a purely white gay issue.

Appalled by the disappearance of familiar faces among the club's membership (perhaps as many as 40% of members were affected), manager Rainey Cheeks and general manager Aundrea Scott, discussed responses. In 1985, Cheeks began organizing one of the African American and Third World community's first and most enduring responses to the crisis: Us Helping Us (UHU). Incorporated in 1988 by Cheeks, Scott, Howard Morris and Dr. Prem Deben, the group carried offered holistic treatments for those infected with HIV. From 1985 to 1990, UHU met regularly at The ClubHouse. UHU later moved into AIDS education and prevention.