AIDS AT 30

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

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1987 – None of These Will Give You AIDS
created by the New York State Department of Health

In the epidemic’s early years, stories spread that you could get AIDS from mosquito bites, swimming pools, public telephones, blood donations and shaking hands.

Heck, the U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop didn’t issue a set of HIV prevention guidelines until the mid 1980s—partially blaming “intradepartmental politics” (and right wingers such as Reagan aide Gary Bauer) for cutting him out of all AIDS discussions during the first five years of the Reagan administration.

So in the absence of nationally-approved health information, early local campaigns sought to calm public hysteria by reassuring people that AIDS could not spread through casual contact. Such information not only helped AIDS patients but those who worked and lived with AIDS-infected individuals.