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Safe Sex Poster Boys at Mardi Gras

PRESS RELEASE: February 22, 2008

Safe Sex Poster Boys at Mardi Gras

The Gay Men’s Health Safe Sex Poster Boys are winging their way to Sydney’s 30th Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and will be marching in the parade alongside the ACON (AIDS Council of New South Wales) community float.

A trip to Sydney’s Mardi Gras on Air New Zealand’s Pink Flight, including two nights accommodation, was part of the prize package for the six winners in the nationwide Safe Sex Poster Boy competition, held over three months in late 2007.

“This is a way for Gay Men’s Health to reward these staunch community volunteers for putting themselves up as spokesmen for safe sex, as well as reinforcing that message,” says Douglas Jenkin, NZAF National Campaigns Co-ordinator. “Hundreds of gay and lesbian New Zealanders make the annual pilgrimage to Mardi Gras, which is one of the world’s biggest and best known GLBT community celebrations.”

“ACON is absolutely delighted to have representatives from New Zealand’s gay and lesbian community marching alongside members of our own community,” says ACON CEO Stevie Clayton. “The theme of our float this year is Together We Can and it’s with this spirit that we welcome the Gay Men’s Health safe sex poster boys to our Mardi Gras celebrations and applaud their contribution to preventing the spread of HIV.”

An HIV prevention campaign featuring the boys on bus shelters in central Auckland, condom packs, banners, national advertisements online and in gay media was launched earlier this month, in recognition that one gay or bisexual man in New Zealand is being diagnosed with HIV every five days.

The Safe Sex Poster Boy competition and campaign has received media attention both locally and internationally, and has been praised by gay media in London for “the unique way it was devised and its hard-hitting message”, which “avoid[s] scare tactics, preferring instead to focus on the positive reasons why men use condoms.” [1]

The Mardi Gras parade will be the second public event for the Safe Sex Poster Boys, following a successful appearance at Auckland’s Big Gay Out two weeks ago, where the boys distributed nearly 6,000 condoms to gay and bisexual festival-goers.

Video footage of the Poster Boys latest antics are available on the campaign website .

[1] Boyz Magazine, 14/2/08


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