When marketing is a matter of life and death

Date of publication: June 15, 1997


The AIDS epidemic does not only struggle for supremacy within the bodies of those who have the disease. Its power and its mythology have also entered the psyches of virtually everyone, at least in the United States. The virulence of the disease exists not only on the physical dimension: its presence has migrated to the psychological and spiritual as well. To properly fashion communications directly to the HIV-positive patient, pharmaceutical companies must take note not only of the current environment in which at least fourteen major companies are rushing to market with more than twenty new AIDS-related drugs. To strike the proper balance between information and emotion in advertising and other communications requires a detailed understanding of AIDS history. It also demands insight into the gay mind, at both the individual and the community levels. This paper seeks to provide these perspectives and insights, along with a point of view on whether or not, in the western world at least, the AIDS patient provides a blueprint for the future of healthcare.

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