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Kiwis Back Brisbane Backlash

1 June 2011

Kiwis Back Brisbane Backlash

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) has backed a Queensland counterpart after a safe sex advertising campaign was taken down because it was targeted by a fundamentalist Christian lobby group.

The removal of the advertisements in Brisbane has created a backlash in support of the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) campaign, most notably on facebook. One of the campaign models has created a Facebook group condemning the ad’s removal which has tripled since 1000am this morning (NZST). With an astounding 15,000 confirmed supporters and another 70,000 pending invitations, the NZAF have joined the groundswell and are encouraging thousands of members and supporters to do the same.

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In New Zealand, billboards featuring tastefully posed men with edgy tattoos incorporating pro-condom messages have been prominently displayed in urban centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch for the last four months. The billboards are part of a social marketing campaign Get it On! that promotes safe sex. The billboards have not attracted any complaints.

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Shaun Robinson, NZAF Executive Director, says the ads are about sexual health and healthy communities. “Frankly, we’re surprised at the situation in Brisbane. The HIV epidemic in Australia has followed a similar trajectory to New Zealand’s. Here, heterosexual rates of HIV diagnoses are heading sharply downwards, while diagnoses for gay and bisexual men are steadily increasing. This is no time for puritanism; we’re in the midst of an HIV epidemic that has never been worse for gay and bisexual men.”

Robinson says safe sex messages are not unwelcome in New Zealand. “Get it On! aims to increase condom use which is an absolute necessity if we’re going to reverse the upward trend of HIV diagnoses. These billboards promote safe sex using imagery, concepts and language that ensure the message is relevant and resonates with the audience. With STIs and unplanned pregnancy also affecting people in every community, there’s never been a better time to Get it On!”


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