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What happened when we showed the AIDS ‘tombstones’ advert in 2016

What happened when we showed the AIDS ‘tombstones’ advert in 2016

watching Tombstone video

In 1986, a bold government ad campaign got the nation talking about HIV and AIDS. The advertisement, featuring the words ‘AIDS: Don’t Die of Ignorance’ etched onto a tombstone, aimed to shock – and it almost certainly saved lives.

But since then, there’s been no comparable major government campaign about what HIV means in 2016.

This means the general public are basing their knowledge of HIV on a time when the nation was gripped by panic and fear.

Thankfully, HIV no longer has to stop people living long and healthy lives – but the legacy of fear around HIV has remained.

Ahead of World AIDS Day 2016, almost exactly thirty years after the ‘tombstones’ ad was first broadcast across Britain, we showed it to seven people.



Some young people had no living memory of these ads. For other people, they remembered it all too well.

The film shows how far we’ve come since these dark days, but also how far we’ve got to go. On World AIDS Day, we’re saying #ItsNotOver. We’re still fighting, still caring, and still wearing our red ribbons with pride.

What we're doing on World AIDS Day.