The story of Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder is one of hope, inspiration, heartbreak, and love. While many of those whom they cared are no longer with us, their work and commitment to support those with HIV/AIDS will forever be remembered and honored in the new HIV/AIDs archive. With special thanks to many in the community, Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder’s story is chronicled in a new oral history and special collections at the University of Utah. This permanent collection marks an important commemoration of those we have lost to AIDs and honor those who have treated and helped those suffering from AIDS.
Due to stigma and a general misunderstanding of AIDs, many doctors and hospitals refused to treat HIV/AIDs patients. This did not apply however, to Dr. Kristin Ries and Maggie Snyder. They were the first medical professionals to treat patients affected by HIV/AIDS in Utah. Not only did they treat those affected, they became part of the patient’s support system. It was not uncommon for Kristin and Ries to spend weekends caring for and holding the hand of their patients. They were more than just healthcare providers; they were friends and family to these individuals.
“When we came to the University of Utah in 1994, AIDS was an epidemic and people were truly afraid. There was so much discrimination against AIDS patients, and their need for treatment was so great, because we were the only ones in Utah treating them – so Maggie and I made house calls 24/7.”
- Dr. Kristin Ries.
The naming celebration was a huge success and attracted scholars, members of the community, healthcare workers, and more. The collection provides a historical context and a summation of the medical and social impacts of the disease on Utah in the 1980s and 1990s. It is important to remember the contributions of these two amazing women, and the many of people they helped. Tami and Jane Marquardt are privileged to support and honor the important work of these two remarkable women and the history of HIV/AIDs in Utah.