Article Title:Call for more HIV campaigns for gay men
Category:New Zealand Daily News
Author or News Staff
Published on:27th February 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:2231
Text:More money and resources need to be put behind strong gay community-focussed HIV prevention campaigns right now, according to the chairman of Auckland's Body Positive. BP's Bruce Kilmister, who has been HIV positive for 17 years, believes safe-sex fatigue is behind the just-announced dramatic increase in new HIV infections amongst New Zealand gay men. He says the safe-sex message needs to be repeatedly pushed home through media visibility and advertising campaigns of the type that were more common here in the earlier stages of the epidemic. “As well as a general population campaign we need to see campaigns targetting gay men in particular,” says Kilmister. He says highly visible, well conceived and targetted campaigns in New Zealand's gay media are an essential tool to pulling back down the increasing numbers of gay men contracting the deadly HIV virus. However, NZAF executive director Rachel LeMesurier says the Foundation has been running a series of full page adverts in express newspaper for four months, promoting testing for HIV and the Roger the Ranger Risk-O-Meter concept. "We've also promoted in venues and at the Ansell Big Gay Out,” she says. “There's been a constant targetting of men who have sex with men. including the gay-identified, so it would be interesting to see which parts of those campaigns were effective and which could be improved.” LeMesurier says she is aware of feedback from local gay men that the Foundation's campaigns are not being noticed. Yet, she notes, gay tourists visiting this country report that they are favourably impressed with the amount of safe sex material on show in the NZ gay community. “Maybe gay men just aren't noting it anymore,” she says. A Ministry of Health action plan for HIV released last December budgeted an extra $1.5 million for an HIV awareness general media campaign but that will not be available till December this year.    
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