World AIDS Day 2017: HIV/AIDS Archives Collection

Today is World AIDS, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, and to commemorate all those who have fallen victim to the disease. The LSHTM Archives have a number of collections that focus on HIV/AIDS, whether it’s documenting the disease or the work of those involved in the research of the disease.

One of these collections, Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health, collected AIDS awareness material, including a large collection of posters. 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.

You can view some of these HIV/AIDS posters 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.

For more information on the Centre for Sexual and Reproductive Health collection, or any other collection, please contact the archives team at:

You can also search our online catalogue.