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Published November 23, 2022 Updated November 23, 2022

War on AIDS

War on AIDS playing cards published by ActionAid, United Kingdom, c. 2004.

2004 United Kingdom ActionAid Actionzone Education Health Add to Collection

This pack was designed by Actionzone, the youth network of ActionAid, c. 2004. It was in July 2004 the Tony Blair (UK Prime Minister 1997-2007) launched the UK's strategy against the Aids pandemic in the developing world, promising more money to children who have been orphaned by disease and to the Global Fund which helps countries pay for life-saving treatment. He announced the UK's contribution to the Global Fund for HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria would double to £150m over three years. See the box

The aces and court cards (together with the ten and nine of hearts) present photographs from Africa beneath which are areas requiring action (e.g. education, safe sex, strategies for action) and steps towards achieving progress. The “Most wanted” element of the title is probably taken from the many “Most wanted” packs that were published in this period, as the backs are reminiscent of the Iraqi Most wanted pack. There are 2 jokers which warn of the perils of AIDs, a third card listing the photographers, and an extra card showing the card back on both sides.

War on AIDS playing cards published by ActionAid, United Kingdom, c. 2004 War on AIDS playing cards published by ActionAid, United Kingdom, c. 2004 War on AIDS playing cards published by ActionAid, United Kingdom, c. 2004

Above: War on AIDS playing cards published by ActionAid, United Kingdom, c. 2004 (click info card to zoom).

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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