Top Menu

IRF News

Retrospective: The ironic overlap of the British AIDS and heroin television campaigns of the 1980s

Over 25yrs ago, as a child, I remember innocent UK kids programming being contrasted in the ad breaks with government campaigns about the dual terrors of AIDS (‘Don’t Die Of Ignorance’) and heroin abuse (‘Heroin Screws You Up’).

Both ad campaigns were likely thought up by the same production company as they made use of gloomy darkness, subtle apocalyptic sound effects, eerie music and echoing voices. They have been praised and criticised for being stark and impacting.

Ironically, the dramatised physical outcomes of those on heroin did not look dissimilar to the public perception of AIDS; there was some cross-over. For instance, HIV risk was shown via injected drugs (emphasis on dirty needles) in one ad, and the vague symptom of a severe flu was seen in the heroin ads, and made its way as an AIDS-defining illness in an old episode of the soap opera EastEnders [not in clip].

Of course, all it took to separate heroin (and indeed general drug) abuse from AIDS was the superfluous addition of a virus.

HIV co-discoverer Robert Gallo believes that a ‘functional’ cure is still within grasp. The cure has, in fact, always been within grasp; it is the mere dismantling of orthodox theory.

, , ,