Condoms and "Safe Sox"
Assorted Condoms and “Safe Sox”. Ca. 1990s.
Shown here are just a few of the (long expired) condoms from the vast collection of AIDS ephemera included in the AIDS Education Collection, donated to RBSCP beginning in 2007 by the late Dr. Edward C. Atwater, a physician, medical historian, and driven collector. Condoms, like anything with a stamped expiration date, are ephemeral. The condoms are part of this collection in that they illustrate the packaging used over time, as well as how they are included with supporting documentation that is instructive, commemorative, or evocative. The over 8000 posters in the collection, and the 40 plus boxes of related material all fall under the umbrella of ephemera, in that these are materials that were created with purpose: to provide information and share messages around preventing and ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Whether it is using condoms or not sharing needles, choosing abstinence, dispelling myths about how virus is spread, or cultivating compassion for others, each message is critical to understanding how the world has responded to the HIV/AIDS crisis.