New Website from NLM’s History of Medicine Division: AIDS Ephemera
The History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine is pleased to announce our newest website, AIDS Ephemera, based on an exhibit of that name at the NLM from November 2002 to June 2003.AIDS was first identified in 1981 and the initial response to the disease generated ephemeral public health materials, such as buttons, posters, cards, comic books, and even lunch boxes. Since AIDS was both incurable and invariably fatal, these messages of prevention were the only effective steps public health officials could take.
Produced by government health departments as well as private organizations, these ephemeral objects became an important medium for messages of awareness, prevention, compassion, and responsibility. Buttons and posters provided information on disease symptoms and safe practices, while comic books spun tales of the consequences of risky sex and needle sharing.
The materials for this website are drawn from the NLM’s Prints & Photographs collection. Many donors contributed these materials—we wish to take special note of the contributions of William H. Helfand, who, as a consultant to the Library, organized and carried out a project to secure AIDS posters from the many agencies and organizations that were producing and distributing them in the 1980s and ’90s.
Please visit the site at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/aidsephemera