Taken from GCN magazine, issue 66, September 1994, this article by Ciarán O’Keeffe reports on a publication produced by the Benetton clothing company to tackle AIDS. The publication was an attempt to repair negative publicity following a tasteless billboard campaign that depicted a man surrounded by his family in a hospital ward dying from an AIDS-related illness.
The photograph was taken from a ‘What If‘ article in the publication. It shows a doctored image of Ronald Reagan, the then US President, with Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a skin cancer that commonly affected people with AIDS. The sarcomas became a visibly stigmatising effect of AIDS, as people suffering from the disease were immediately identifiable. It is widely accepted that Reagan’s prolonged rejection of the epidemic led to delayed medical intervention, resulting in the death of thousands of people.