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
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.
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