LHSA's Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS collection awarded UN status

Our Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS collection has had the distinction this week of being added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register, a list of documentary heritage which holds cultural significance specific to the UK.

During the 1980s Edinburgh was at the forefront of the battle against HIV and AIDS, with infection rates in the Lothian area 4 times the national average. A wide variety of organisations were involved in helping to tackle infection rates and provide care and support for those affected, including NHS Lothian, Lothian Regional Council, campaign groups and charities such as Crusaid. In the late 1980s, LHSA sought to record this episode in British history by actively collecting material specific to HIV/AIDS. This has resulted in a nationally significant resource; an equivalent cache of equally rich and historically important material relating is not known to exist elsewhere in the UK.

LHSA continues to collect records relating to HIV and AIDS; the 11 sub collections which make up the resource span from 1983 to 2010, covering all aspects of the medical and social response to the disease. They consist of management, administration and policy papers, educational and promotional items including pamphlets, videos, board games, posters, postcards, badges and even condoms. The collections also include material relating to the memorable, and sometimes controversial, ‘Take Care’ campaign.

Postcard from the Take Care Campaign

The Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS collection was chosen by the expert committee of the UK Memory of the World programme following a nomination and review process that began in 2010. The register is part of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) programme to support and raise awareness of archives. We're thrilled that the importance of the Edinburgh and Lothian HIV/AIDS collection to the UK’s documentary history has been acknowledged.

Read more about the 2011 UK Memory of the World Register at Unesco UK Memory of the World Register 2011

See our online exhibition of postcards from the 'Take Care' HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign at Take Care Campaign Postcards exhibition