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Health posters from the past: visual responses to AIDS

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01/12/2014

By | From the Collections

On World AIDS Day (1 December) take some time to look back at how the world responded to the AIDS epidemic by browsing our international collection of over 3000 AIDS posters online.

AIDS poster, Switzerland.

A Swiss AIDS poster, published c.1994. Wellcome Library reference no. 674630i.

When AIDS gripped the world in 1981, the dissemination of public health posters experienced a resurgence unseen since the Second World War. Local authorities, healthcare providers and governments used health posters as a way to inform people about the new deadly disease. These public health campaigns endured for over 20 years and still are on-going in some parts of the world today.

AIDS poster England

Two naked male bodies representing a poster for a conference on HIV. Published: West Midlands Regional Health Authority (England) [19–]. Wellcome Library reference no. 666591i.

Building on the original collection of Thomas Hill, acquired in 1999, there are currently over 3000 AIDS posters spanning 99 countries and 94 languages in the Library’s collection.

A South African AIDS poster, published by: Moving Images [ca. 1996?]. Wellcome Library reference no. 646419i.

A South African AIDS poster, published by: Moving Images [ca. 1996?]. Wellcome Library reference no. 646419i.

Now you can view the AIDS posters from one convenient place – the AIDS Posters page on the Library website. Located in the Digitial Collections section, the page enables viewers to browse the posters quickly and easily in the Library catalogue. It also provides a brief history of the collection and a gallery of selected posters, which gives viewers a taste of the diversity of the collection.

AIDS poster Korea

An AIDS prevention advertisement by the Korean Anti-AIDS Federation Inc. Published: [1995]. Wellcome Library reference no. 677749i.

If you want to explore further, the new Collections section of the website also provides information and related content about sex and sexual health in the archives and manuscripts, as well as other digital collections, such as Sexology.

And do let us know what you think of our new pages!

Author: Gillian Daniel is a Graduate Trainee at the Wellcome Trust.

 

Gillian Daniel

Gillian Daniel is a Graduate Trainee at the Wellcome Trust and the creator of the popular fashion and art Instagram page @FashoftheTitans.

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