Article Title:NZAF billboard causes outrage in America
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:6th December 2003 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2156
Text:News of a NZ AIDS Foundation South Island billboard campaign featuring nude men has ruffled feathers in the United States, where one conservative commentator has accused the NZAF of making a festive occasion out of death. "I don't get it. Every time I read another piece about homosexuals not knowing what's up regarding AIDS / HIV transmission, I wonder where the ostrich laid its egg. Come on, don't tell me that those gents don't know how the disease is transmitted,” says commentator J. Grant Swank, Jr. “Men in the buff as in-your-face ads evangelising the gospel of AIDS prevention. Give me a break. It's just another chance for the homosexual jumpy brain cells to do what they enjoy best — parade in front of the world in Eden's birthday suits.” NZAF gay men's health manager Kerry Price says Swank's comments indicate that he has no knowledge of the issue at hand. Mr Price doubts Swank has even seen the images used, based on the descriptions in his online column. “We have new people becoming sexually active who need to hear the campaign messages for the first time, and people who have been around for a while who need updating and reminding of the importance of keeping themselves safe and the impact of HIV,” says Price. “The fact that the billboard features a nude male image we do not believe to be that controversial given that designers, soap manufacturers, the producers of the stuff we like to splash on ourselves to make us smell nice, have all used naked male images to sell their product (to great effect I believe) in the New Zealand media over the last six months.” Swank's parting shot accused the campaign of sending a “mixed message”, severely doubting the sincerity of the NZAF's claims for the intention of the campaign – to alert Southern men to the dangers of HIV. “Given New Zealand is one of the top (if not top) country in the prevention of transmission of HIV in MSM and that even while experiencing an increase in infections we still have one of the lowest prevalence rates in the world, this is a fairly strong indicator that we know what we are doing, "Price says. "Can Mr Swank say the same about his country?"    
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