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  AIDS AT 30

Sex, Drugs And HIV-Phobia: 10 Lessons From Early AIDS Awareness Posters

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1988 – AIDS is a White Man’s Disease
created by People of Color Against AIDS

The initial government guidelines for AIDS treatment addressed gay white males rather than the black and Latinos who faced homophobia, poverty, unemployment and lack of health care while seeking the information, testing, diagnoses and treatment they so badly needed.

The “Famous Last Words” series sought to disabuse urban people of color of the notion that they couldn’t contract the disease by quoting common, lethal misconceptions such as “I don’t need to wear one of those” and “Okay, but next time you have to wear one.” While the viewer may have heard or even uttered such phrases, the bold red lettering below underscores the lethality of such attitudes.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Dec 1, 2011
Tagged: ,

  • 14 Comments
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      Oh, yes, Number 10, “Be a Rubber Man”

      Loved that one, all the celebrity of guys asking me about posing for that campaign — even more free drinks at the bars! Even an artist friend for whom I was modeling, asked me about being the Rubber Man.

      It wasn’t me but boy did we look alike; hooked up one fun night, and yes, we were both Rubber Men.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stop and think
      Stop and think

      Number 4, good old Teflon president Reagan isn’t responsible for anything. He’s just a figurehead, after all, little more then the queen of England…….

      Dec 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Observer
      Observer

      Why are these warning messages unintelligible? “Dabbling with your life”??? AIDSgate? It’s one long exercise in confusing people, when what the public really needed was clarity.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Damon
      Damon

      I could be wrong, but it sure looks like number 4 and number 10 were the only helpful posters.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 1:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andy
      Andy

      Thanks for number 6 Daniel. Since queerty is just brimming with breastfeeders with HIV, that was completely useful and relevant information that doesn’t in any way call into question your motivation in publishing it.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daniel Villarreal
      Daniel Villarreal

      @Andy: You’re right Andy. No HIV+ women read this site. Nor do mothers. Just intelligent men like you.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      @WillBFair: I suppose for the “glass is half empty” crowd, you are somewhat right. But for those of us in the “glass is half full” group, the variety of posters appeared because concerned citizens saw areas where information was lacking and decided to do something about that.

      To critique that national response is certainly valid. The truth of the matter is that until ActUP began its demonstrations, demonstrations that often inconvenienced large segments of the general public — like the tens-of-thousands of commuters on the Golden Gate Bridge, there was little governmental and national response.

      You use of “stupidity and incompetence” is dangles over the individual groups that did take action. And amid the excruciating pain caused by the stupidity and incompetence of governmental leadership, it is exactly the leadership of grass-root groups that made things happen on both the education and research/treatment fronts. I am alive today because these various groups did do something, and collectively, got a national response started.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillBFair
      WillBFair

      @Mike in Asheville: I’m not one for the glass half full/empty meme. I thank goodness for the new drugs, as we all should. And I’m happy that so many lives have been saved. But ninety some percent of my generation are gone. So it’s not easy for me to fall back on a cliche.
      I’m talking about gay leadership’s incompetence. Instead of working on prevention from day one, they sat around blaming others and spitting profanity at anyone who broached the subject. Now it’s thirty years later. We’ve got a ton of people on the meds. And they still haven’t addressed prevention. Please.
      At any rate, I’m glad to hear that you’re doing ok.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DenverBarbie
      DenverBarbie

      @Andy: @Daniel Villarreal: Looks like he caught you, Daniel. Might as well fess up- you’re trying to raise us for your heterosexual, right-wing, militia, aren’t you?
      Or worse yet, perhaps you are trying to include women in the conversation?! Absolutely OUTRAGEOUS!

      Dec 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andy
      Andy

      @DenverBarbie: Oh please, its not like there’s an abundance of HIV+ mothers who regularly read a site called “Queerty”. To hide behind the idea that he’s “trying to include women in the conversation” in this context is to literally use them as human shields. That is every bit as loathsome as the repeated snarky opportunism, serophobia and assorted other bigotries that define his writing.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andy
      Andy

      @WillBFair: You keep saying things like “they still haven’t addressed prevention”. What exactly are you talking about? What sort of “prevention message” are you looking for?

      Dec 1, 2011 at 10:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • eric
      eric

      thank you for sharing these posters.

      Dec 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jaime
      Jaime

      Dear Andy. I am a heterosexual woman and gay rights advocate. I read all of these posters.

      Dear Daniel, thank you for considering me and others like me when others might not. I thoroughly enjoyed this forray into my culture’s not so distant past. I was born in 1985, so seeing media such as this is way more enlightening than my brief, public school textbook education on the history of aids in America.

      Dec 2, 2011 at 3:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christopher Banks
      Christopher Banks

      It’s interesting that the UNAIDS theme for World AIDS Day this year was “getting to zero”, which is a great utopian vision, but I think it’s setting yourself up for failure when so many things are missing from the current battle (apologies to those who don’t like war analogies).

      The three components of “getting to zero” were zero new HIV infections, zero new AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma. Big goals, right?

      I wrote a piece about what I think needs to change before we can start setting ourselves such ambitious goals. It refers specifically to New Zealand, where I live, but I think the messages are universal to gay communities in Western countries worldwide:

      http://bipolarbear.co.nz/2011/11/25/getting-to-zero/

      Dec 3, 2011 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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