The Jon Cohen collection consists of approximately 10,000 documents or 32 linear feet of materials, including correspondence, conference abstracts, meeting minutes, reports, promotional materials, presentations, and newspaper and journal articles related to the AIDS public health crisis and the response from governments, scientists, activist organizations, and pharmaceutical companies. A large portion of the collection is made up of U.S. Federal documents; of note are documents that Jon Cohen obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documenting Jonas Salk's development of a Polio vaccine as well as the Reagan administration's response to AIDS. Additionally, the collection contains company stock reports, correspondences between scientists, pamphlets on AIDS awareness and prevention from countries across the globe, and newsletters from AIDS activist groups such as AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and Treatment Action Group (TAG).
The largest series in the collection is the Chronological Files, which is divided by year. Early years in the AIDS movement (1980s) have been combined into a single more expansive series. Each year section is subdivided into Events and Reports. The Events sections correlate with international conferences (International Conference on AIDS and Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections being the most prevalent in the collection) while Reports correlate with annual reports by a range of organizations (e.g. United Nations).
Scientific Research is a fairly extensive section of the collection, consisting of materials on the scientific nature of HIV/AIDS and this series has been divided into six sub-series. These sub-series are Immunology, Virology, the Duesberg AIDS hypothesis controversy, Animal Research, Pediatrics and Epidemiology. Materials are alphabetically arranged into subject files on various scientific AIDS related content and include: newspaper clippings, journal article duplicates, other published materials, in addition to some correspondence and notes written by Jon Cohen.
Disease Management is separated into two sections; AIDS Treatment and AIDS Vaccines. The AIDS Treatment sub-series includes subject files on drug treatment, specific drugs, and immune therapy. The AIDS Vaccines sub-series is made up of subject files on clinical trials, general information of AIDS vaccines and overviews of vaccine development arranged chronologically. This series includes newspaper clippings, journal articles, press releases, pamphlets and other related items.
AIDS Internationally is an extensive collection of materials, divided first by continent and then sub-divided by country. The materials covered in this section range from AIDS prevention programs to AIDS awareness programs.
The AIDS Activism series is separated under three main headings: Movements, Organizations and Prevention. Types of materials within this section include newspaper articles, brochures, press releases, flyers, organization publications and newsletters.
The Government Response and Policy series contains both legal and policy aspects. Some of the major areas covered by the Legal section include: the gp160 trials controversy, which contains federal documents, court documents, lobbyist documents, correspondences; documents created by and related to Microgenesys, the company that created gp160; also included are documents related to NIH, such as the Office of AIDS Research and the NIH Revitalization Act (the report itself and press surrounding it). The Policy section includes many small folders of individual policies but mostly consists of two large sections: Immunization Policy and Presidential Policy. Immunization Policy contains hearing notes, press on various policies, and various documents connected with vaccine funding, such as news and correspondences and official documents around the accelerated drug approval reform. The Presidential Policy section handles the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Clinton has the largest portion as it was during his administration that PACHA was created as a federal body to try an approach that worked toward ending AIDS.
The Marketplace series contains separate subject files on corporations that were involved in creating AIDS treatment drugs and researching vaccines between 1988 and 2005. In addition to these subject files, the series also contains documentation on the patents of these AIDS treatments. Material formats include press releases, newspaper clippings, corporate information packets and stock reports.
The Jonas Salk series consists of materials concerning the scientist Jonas Salk, one of the discoverers of the first polio vaccine. This series holds of documents and articles related to that work, as well as the role Salk took in researching a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.
The Robert Gallo series is a large collection of documents connecting to the scientists Robert Gallo, one of the original AIDS researchers whose research into HIV and the AIDS virus was surrounded by controversy.
The AIDS in the Media series contains a collection of materials gathered by Cohen to track various media trends and responses to AIDS. Included in this collection are: activism, AIDS discrimination, vaccine news, predictions, and various other topics that were important in the fight against AIDS. The materials include news clippings, abstract, computer print-offs and photocopies of articles.
Correspondence is separated into three sub-series: Incoming, Outgoing and Response to Cohen Articles. The Correspondence series includes letters, faxes and emails sent to and by Jon Cohen. Many letters concern Cohen’s writings on AIDS at Science magazine.