Playboy has always been on the forefront of combating the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS. From the early signs of AIDS, Playboy covered the epidemic calmly and compassionately, challenging the hysteria and fear surrounding the virus. Part fashion show, part silent auction, the Hoppening rallied together a range of influential heavyweights to raise money for HIV/AIDS research. Those in attendance included Pamela Anderson, Hugh Hefner and Roseanne Barr.
In addition, the Playboy Foundation, a longtime crusader against social injustices, contibuted funding to support battling the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 1983, the Playboy Foundation raised more than $360,000 to benefit the City of Hope National Medical Center AIDS research project. In 1988, the Foundation raised funds for the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project. Beyond the Hoppening, in 1994, Playboy celebrated its 40th anniversary in Los Angeles, joining the American Foundation of AIDs Research (AMFAR) to raise funds for research. Through ticket sales, program ads, a silent auction and donations, Playboy helped raised more than $375,000.
As we look back on the fun had in the past, as portrayed in these photos, we should not forget how serious the cause. Although treatment of these diseases has improved drastically, a cure is still years away. Donate to AMFAR today and help put a permanent end to a horrific disease that has impacted the lives of too many.
Photography by Elayne Lodge, Joni Mattis and Patty Beaudet