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AIDS Prevention (1988 - 1990)

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As the AIDS epidemic began to sweep the nation in 1987, the Ad Council partnered with the American Foundation for AIDS Research and the National AIDS Network to develop an AIDS prevention campaign that would educate individuals about methods of protection and help inspire change in current behavior. At the time, the majority of Americans were aware of the existence and gravity of the AIDS virus, but many did not fully understand the facts about the disease and how it spreads.

Launched in September of 1988, just months before the first ever World AIDS Day on December 1, this groundbreaking campaign was the first in American advertising to use the word "condom." The campaign, featuring the tagline "Help stop AIDS. Use a condom," received the endorsement of then United States Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop and continued until 1990.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between January 1989 and May 1990, the number of 13-19 year olds diagnosed with the AIDS virus increased by 35 percent and continued to rise steadily thereafter. The Ad Council continued its commitment to promoting AIDS prevention with the launch of a new campaign in 1991 in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This campaign helped to inform teens that drugs, including alcohol, negatively affect judgment with regard to sexual behavior and often place young people at risk for AIDS. The public service advertising featured cartoon characters that experience anxiety during the morning after a party, and the tagline, "Get High. Get Stupid. Get AIDS." The campaign ran until 1997.

In 2001, the Ad Council shifted the focus of its AIDS campaign from prevention through education to inspiring change through awareness with the launch of its current AIDS Awareness campaign in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The campaign encourages Americans to get involved in the global effort to combat the AIDS epidemic by raising awareness of the havoc it has already created.

AIDS, now the most devastating disease humankind has ever faced, has orphaned more than 14 million children. The first round of PSAs depicts the startling scenario of children struggling to live in a city absent of adults. The next round of work, expected to launch in winter 2003, will equate the number of AIDS deaths worldwide to the number of schoolchildren in major American cities, depicting teachers and janitors dismantling empty classrooms.

View historic commercials:

Macho (1988) Vilma (1988) Self-Realization (1992)


View current commercial:

Kids (2002)



Ad Council

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