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UCLA Digital Library Presents International HIV/AIDS PostersIn a Swiss poster a pink condom governs the night sky.

UCLA Digital Library Presents International HIV/AIDS Posters

Online collection of 625 posters from worldwide public health campaigns marks World AIDS Day.

The collection should be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attempts to control it.


In time to mark World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), the UCLA Library today has made available online a digitized archive of AIDS posters from around the world. From 44 countries, the 625 posters are held in UCLA's Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections.

"The collection is incredibly rich," said David Gere, director of the Art|Global Health Center at UCLA. "You can see some of the best graphic interventions in global health, as well as some of the worst, but the important thing is that all 625 posters are readily available at the touch of a button, to be seen and studied by any researcher with access to the Net."

Green viruses, at bottom, flee in a poster from Hong Kong.

The posters were issued by a variety of institutions and organizations to educate and warn people about AIDS and to offer advice and information in visual form. Some are more blunt and graphic than others, and they come in many styles.

"The collection provides a fascinating insight into the many approaches that have been used to try to modify risk behaviors," said Roger Detels, a UCLA professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases. "The posters range from terrifying to amusing and reflect the many cultures from which they have been drawn, which include national cultures and risk group cultures. The collection should be of interest to anyone interested in the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and attempts to control it."

Many of the posters employ arresting photography, such as an example from Austria with a black-and-white photograph of two arms and hands curved to form the shape of an AIDS ribbon. Others feature colorful cartoons or drawings, such as an example from Germany with a crayon drawing of a child in a field of flowers with arms stretched wide for a hug. Still others simply use text in a striking manner, such as a U.S. example with the words "Let me help you" in white on a field of solid black, with the message at the bottom, "If you want him to use a condom, this is all you have to say."

Countries represented in the archive include Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Martinique, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Tahiti, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

UCLA International Institute