This is a very strange story that’s been picked up by the Daily Telegraph: a German Aids charity has been attacked for launching an advertising campaign – and a pretty sexually explicit one at that – in which people who spread HIV are presented as Hitler. I’m not sure whether the target is people who have unprotected sex knowing that they’re HIV+, or just the sexually careless more generally. Whatever: UK Aids charities aren’t happy:
“This advert has absolutely nothing to do with us or World AIDS Day campaigns in the UK, which we coordinate,” a spokeswoman for the National AIDS Trust said.
“Nor does it have anything to do with World AIDS Campaign who coordinate international campaigns and this year are focusing on human rights of people living with HIV.
“Of course there are many HIV organisations that run their own campaigns, however I think the advert is incredibly stigmatising to people living with HIV who already face much stigma and discrimination due to ignorance about the virus.
“On top of this it fails to provide any kind of actual prevention message (e.g. use a condom) and may deter people to come forward for testing.
“The advert is also inaccurate because in the UK thanks to treatment HIV is a manageable condition that does not necessary lead to AIDS.”
For what it’s worth, I kind of agree with the National AIDS Trust on this. The implication the people with HIV are genocidal madmen manqué doesn’t seem to be quite right. And, while I think that HIV/ Aids is one of the (many) areas in relation to which the media ought to stop being so prissy and prudish, I’m not sure that this is much of an improvement. I don’t have any problem with people being shocked out of HIV complacency – the “Don’t Die of Ignorance” campaign was a hell of a jolt at the time, and right on the money; and little gratuitous nudity here and there adds to the gaity of nations (anyone who denies this being either a sexless robot or a liar). But somehow the two don’t sit together all that well. Maybe it’s just because I kind of suspect that the ad will mostly be watched by teenage boys who’ll simply not pay any attention to the at-any-rate facile slogan. They’ll be looking elsewhere.