Poster, 'If this woman had the virus which leads to AIDS. In a few years she could look like the person over the page', one of a pair of small posters, HIV and AIDS related, each poster with the identical photograph of a healthy looking young woman suggesting you can't recognise HIV through visual symptoms, produced by the Health Education Authority, England, c.1988-1995
As part of an HIV / AIDS awareness campaign that featured in newspapers and magazines, two identical pictures were placed on consecutive pages. Presented with an image of a young attractive woman and the suggestion that turning the page will reveal their appearance after several years living with the HIV virus, many readers will have been surprised with the result. She looks exactly the same.
In the early years of the HIV / AIDS epidemic, there was a widespread public belief that individuals who carried the virus could be identified by their physical appearance. They would somehow ‘look ill’. These images were part of a government backed campaign developed by the Health Education Authority in England. It attempted to promote awareness that the virus was not restricted to particular groups and that those carrying it were quite likely to be young, healthy and attractive. The original image was taken by leading British photographer, David Bailey.