Choose Life – World Aids Day 2020

As a proud U=U couple we are always looking for ways to share our story and educate people on HIV/AIDS related subjects. Today, for World Aids Day 2020, we want to share a bit of story and claim back a big slogan.
(Picture: Peter Positive & Dado Garcia)

[Text by Kate Davison]
Made famous by Wham! in the 1984 music video for their smash hit ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’, with its stark, black-on-white imperative, CHOOSE LIFE. For a lot of people, 1984 actually meant death. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were the rulers of the US & UK. As leaders of the free world, they were choosing death for millions. 1984 was also the year Bob Geldof founded Band Aid.

As a slogan, CHOOSE LIFE has variously been associated with suicide prevention campaigns, anti-nuclear campaigns and other progressive and public health causes. Certainly there was little sympathy before, or even after 1987, when the UK finally launched its AIDS: Don’t Die of Ignorance leaflet and television ad, and Princess Diana was photographed holding the hand of an AIDS patient.

During this time, both Reagan and Thatcher aggressively attacked health programs and funding. National Archives documents show how Thatcher actively and repeatedly tried to prevent the Don’t Die of Ignorance campaign, arguing that it ‘could do immense harm’ to teenagers to read information about anal sex, and that the proposed, evidence-based campaign material might even breach the Obscene Publications Act. As for Reagan, by 1989 more than 70,000 people in the US had died of AIDS.

In a pro-life chatroom, one user whined: ‘I remember getting excited in college because George Michael wore a t-shirt that said, “Choose Life” – I thought he was against abortion and was pretty disappointed when I found out he was talking about AIDS.’ Interestingly, Catherine Hamnett (the designer) has settled the matter. In a public notice, she protested: ‘The US anti-abortion lobby attempted to appropriate CHOOSE LIFE. We are taking it back and promoting its real meaning. 

  • See also Instagram post “Choose Life”: click here
  • See also Facebook post “Choose Life”: click here

Positive greetintgs,

Peter Positive


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