Over the past thirty years since HIV became recognised as a serious danger to public health, there have been a variety of mechanisms used to raise awareness about HIV among the general population. These have included government leaflets, campaign posters and documentaries designed to raise awareness and promote greater public knowledge and understanding about HIV transmission and prevention.

Watch Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive of the Terence Higgins Trust talk about her perception of how the media have covered HIV since the 1980s.

Lord Fowler was the Secretary of State for Health in the 1980s and was responsible for commissioning the ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’ AIDS awareness raising campaign at the time. In February 2011, he set up a House of Lords committee to investigate this "major public health problem" once more. The committee’s findings were reported in July 2011.

The following links explain Lord Fowler’s role in preventing HIV since the 1980s. Follow these links then talk through the questions below:

For discussion

How do you think the stigma and discrimination surrounding HIV might affect the choices people make? Think about the following issues:

  • How and why would a campaign today need to be different from that in the 1980s?
  • What is meant by targeted campaigns?
  • What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of targeted campaigns?
  • What has been learned about HIV since the 1980s and what do we need to make clearer?
  • From these links, what do you think should be the priorities for a HIV campaign?