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Posters Visualize The Fight Against AIDS

AIDS Poster from Quebec

To commemorate World AIDS Day December 1, some of the AIDS posters from a global online collection go on display this week at the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees library.

The posters provide a visual history of the HIV/AIDS crisis from 1981 up until today.

There are more than 62-hundred posters from more than 120 countries in the archive.

Professor emeritus and retired physician Dr. Edward C. Atwater, M.D., donated the posters with the requirement that they be put online so the public could view the entire collection.

James Kuhn, of the university’s Rare Books and Special Collections library, says the online catalog completes a three year effort.

"Putting them all online this way gives us an opportunity to have a much broader reach. Not everyone will be able to come to Special Collections at the University of Rochester in the Rush Rhees library to see the original artifacts. But anyone with an internet connection around the world can access the collection and do their own research using the digital images and catalogs that we've created."

Kuhn says the collections of the posters were previously on exhibit at colleges, high schools and museums such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

"You can browse by language, you can browse by country, you can look at pages of thumbnails or you can look at lists. You can search by creators, by cities, by languages, and by keywords that appear in titles. Some posters were issued in series so you can search that way as well."

On Friday, December 6, a slideshow of highlights from the collection will be presented in conjunction with a talk by historian, health policy analyst, and epidemiologist Gerald Oppenheimer on the politics and ethics associated with HIV and AIDS.