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

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1990 – Be A Rubberman
created by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Considering the initial association of gay men with HIV, it’s astounding how few of the posters from the epidemic’s first decade actually acknowledge gay male audiences or contain any sexual overtures whatsoever.

In this case the San Francisco AIDS Foundation avoids overtly mentioning the disease and portraying sex as something to fear. Quite the contrary, they invite viewers to feel turned on and empowered about choosing to have hot, protected sex.

This poster predates contemporary safe-sex posters from Hot House Studios (NSFW) and the DC FUK!T campaign which both feature actual porn stars using condoms for explicit sex. Some modern campaigns also feature tamer, affectionate couples using condoms as an act of love.