The posters and ephemera were brought together from a wide range of European countries, including Russia, Romania and Switzerland and were intended to prevent the spread of the disease by informing the public of how AIDS can be transmitted.
To complement the exhibition in the Library, the Archives has created an online gallery of HIV/AIDS posters within our collection on Flickr, Global Visions: HIV/AIDS posters at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine archives. The posters provide a snapshot of the diversity of designs and messages used in AIDS public awareness campaigns across Europe.
The majority of the posters were collected as part of the European Commission (EC) ‘Concerted Action on Assessment of AIDS/HIV Prevention Strategies’ project, 1989-1991, the purpose of
which was to compare and contrast the different AIDS public health campaigns European countries. It was during the late eighties and early nineties that AIDS was a major concern to European countries as the number of cases rapidly increased and there was a high degree of anxiety and fear in the general population over this fatal disease.
The posters show how public health campaigners and voluntary organisations tried to inform and change behaviour within the general community. The posters display a number of different strategies to convey their message, such as using cartoons to depict risky behaviour for conservative audiences; targeting an emotion response through the use of fear, humour and empowerment and positively representing at risk groups to de-stigmatise and counter misinformation about the disease.
The items on display and online, are just a selection from a large collection of AIDS awareness material that was originally collected by the School’s Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health and is now held in the School Archives. Postcards depicting items from the School’s Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health Collection are available, free of charge, in the Library reading room.
For more information on the exhibition or the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health collection please contact the archives team at: