Fear, then Connection: Provincetown’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic with Scott Penn, John Braden and Stephen Kovacev

Program for Sunday, July 25, 2021

Fear, then Connection: Provincetown’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic

There is perhaps no other community so profoundly affected by HIV and AIDS as Provincetown and these effects have been archived at the Provincetown History Project.

The first cases were diagnosed in 1982. By 1996, the virus had claimed the lives of 385 people—more than one-tenth of the town’s permanent population. The town rallied support for those afflicted and when news of Provincetown’s support services began to emerge, many who were diagnosed with the illness moved there to live out their final days and found a healing refuge.  Join us at as we remember the epidemic with three men who lived through it: Scott Penn, John Braden and Stephen Kovacev. 

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Scott Penn was born and raised in Hyannis.  He was the Executive Director of Outer Cape Health Services from 1986 to 2001.

John Braden moved to Provincetown in the early 1990’s after being diagnosed with AIDS. Although he expected to die there, he has survived and prospered and now oversees WOMR as its Executive Director.

Stephen Kovacev is a 68 year old athlete living with AIDS in Provincetown. After nearly dying from the disease in 1997, in 2014 he became the first AIDS survivor to complete the Boston Marathon and he continues to run marathons around the world today.