Welcome to the AIDS Education Posters Collection


More About the Collection:

The images and associated metadata represented on this site are digital reproductions of the physical collection of HIV/AIDS Education Posters, donated beginning in 2007 to the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation by Dr. Edward C. Atwater (1926-2019). A visionary collector, physician, and medical historian, Dr. Atwater recognized at the beginning of the AIDS crisis that these posters were representative of social history and they needed to preserved and made accessible for scholarship and study in order to better understand the enormous cultural and social shifts that HIV/AIDS brought to the forefront across the world. The result of his efforts is this rich collection, the largest of its kind in the world, including over 8000 posters, as well as significant related ephemera and other material that puts the AIDS Crisis in a global context. With Dr. Atwater’s passing in 2019, we continue to build and document the HIV/AIDS pandemic in his stead, seeking out posters and related material to continue to strengthen this important collection.

The collection documents efforts to educate and inform groups and individuals about HIV/AIDS in over 130 countries and in over 75 languages and dialects, dating from the very dawn of the global AIDS pandemic in 1982 to the present.

Additionally, this website serves to document student projects using the posters, as well as resources page, and contact information for users to suggest translations, metadata, image tags and more.

HIV/AIDS, an ongoing global pandemic, touches individuals of all ages. On this website you will find posters which are aimed towards educating young children, the elderly, and everyone in between, about HIV/AIDS prevention, risks, social advocacy, and compassion for those affected. Posters, as an art form and as a medium of communication are graphic. As long as HIV/AIDS continues to affect people of all ages around the world, the purposes for which these posters were originally created will continue to be relevant.

The collection is the basis for the major exhibition, Up Against the Wall: Art, Activism, and the AIDS Poster which was exhibited from March 6–June 19, 2022 at the Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester.