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

1992 – Healthcare not Wealthcare

created by ACT-UP

No ’80s era AIDS poster collection would be complete without a few from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (aka ACT UP).

After resigning as a founding board member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, outspoken AIDS activist Larry Kramer went on to form ACT-UP, a more militant, direct action political group that pressured the government and medical researchers to provide greater access to drugs, research and policy development.

It wasn’t until 1987 that Ronald Reagan finally used the word “AIDS” in a public speech. But even after then he contended that the U.S. Government should not provide AIDS or sex education because “How that information is used must be up to schools and parents, not government.”

He added “Let’s be honest with ourselves, AIDS information can not be what some call ‘value neutral.’ After all, when it comes to preventing AIDS, don’t medicine and morality teach the same lessons?” He soon learned that the epidemic and its survivors had some new lessons to teach him as well.