Uh...Safe sex posters in France.
Oh, and it seems that rumors of a heterosexual AIDS epidemic in the West were, well, exaggerated.
My godforsaken adolescence (18 in 1987, so just think) curses this lie, but at the same time, had AIDS always been thought exclusively a disease of what mainstream society thinks of as fringe, foreign, and even immoral and unhygenic--but "other" and presumably corruptive in any event, whatever the era's rationale was--then would anything
have been done about it?
No, it wouldn't have. And I have a number of gay friends who now are thought of as ordinary neighbors and co-workers to the straight people around them, some living in rural, even Southern communities. This is not the South I
remember. AIDS forced society to accept gays over time.
And also, AIDS, far from stopping people from fucking, actually gave people license to, and education about it. You can't just know you're supposed to use condoms. You're also to know when it's appropriate and when not. And how. That implies knowing a number of things that, in earlier days, would have been thought of by most as out of the ordinary. Now, we live in a time where my recent work is tame enough to be considered satire (if weak, admittedly) than smut.
To increase AIDS awareness it was necessary to educate everyone on what people really did or didn't do in bed. And as we now could tell ourselves that if we did X, Y and lubricate with Z, we could do pretty much everything that, in an earlier age when sex was more mysterious, if done might have been a lot more clumsy. And infrequent.
So was it a destructive lie? I'm not sure. Can a lie be constructive? I think of what Ozymandias does at the end of WATCHMEN. Can people only grow up and get their priorities straight when in terror? I'd like to think not.