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The Government Campaign

The arrival of HIV and AIDS in the early 1980’s led to predictions that it would spread throughout the population with the potential of deaths on a massive scale. The government’s response was a national public-health campaign in 1987 with a simple but apocalyptic message – ‘Don’t Die of Ignorance’. The campaign included TV adverts and a leaflet which was dropped through the nation's 23 million letter boxes.


Norman Fowler, the Secretary of State for Health at the time, explained there was no cure, and that it would be at least five years before an effective vaccine could be expected. Public education, he said, was "the only vaccine we have" and the object of the campaign was to stop the spread of the virus now, so that the number of deaths did not continue to rise during the 1990s.

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