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Marking nearly three decades of AIDS awareness on World AIDS Day

November 26, 2014
collage of AIDS posters with the text World AIDS Day 12 1 14

World AIDS Day, held annually on December 1st, unites us in support of those who are surviving with the disease, in commemoration of those who have died, and in a shared dedication to finding a cure.

Recent scientific efforts have brought an increase in long-awaited treatments that can help to mitigate the effects and rate of transmission of HIV/AIDS. And yet with a rise in infection rates in the past few years among the most vulnerable risk groups, the crisis is far from over.

The AIDS Education Collection, housed in the River Campus Libraries’ Rare Books and Special Collections department, is comprised of more than 8,000 posters from 124 countries in 68 languages and dialects. It documents three decades of public awareness of the AIDS epidemic, revealing the evolution in how AIDS has been viewed and confronted, and the revolutions in attitudes towards the communities it has hit hardest.

The Collection also contains a significant amount of ephemera. Displayed here are a selection of items that were intended to send a message in ways and places a poster could not: coasters, trading cards, T-shirts, and buttons, along with condoms packaged for free distribution, and educational pamphlets.

This exhibit is just one of the events University-wide that will mark World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day Scientific Symposium

Center for AIDS Research
December 2nd, 2014, 10 AM – 2 PM

10-11 a.m. Keynote Presentation
Prevention-Effective Adherence: A new paradigm for understanding adherence to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis
Jessica Haberer
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Class of ’62 Auditorium

11 a.m. –  12:30 p.m. Scientific Poster Session
Flaum Atrium

12:30-1:30 p.m. Keynote Presentation
Update on HIV CURE Research
Robert Siliciano
Professor of Medicine
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Class of ’62 Auditorium


Professor Douglas Crimp on the early days of AIDS activism

A persistent voice during the AIDS crisis, Crimp combined activism and scholarship to shed light on gay politics in the 1980s. His work was instrumental in the development of the field of queer studies. He is the author of “On the Museum’s Ruins,” “Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics,” and “Our Kind of Movie: The Films of Andy Warhol.”


For more on the AIDS Education Collection, please contact the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, or visit:

For more on World AIDS Day visit:

 For more on the Center for AIDS Research visit:

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Category: Society & Culture