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"This is no time for Puritanism" - NZAF boss

Wed 1 Jun 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

The 'offensive' ad There is full New Zealand solidarity for the Queensland health promoter which has had its tame safe sex ads pulled from bus stops following an orchestrated campaign from a conservative Christian group. The Queensland Association for Healthy Communities' "Rip and Roll" advertisements feature a black and white image of a gay couple embracing, holding an unopened red condom packet. The men are a real-life very much in love couple who are engaged and planning to foster kids. The complaints were a targeted campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and its Queensland State Director Wendy Francis has applauded the decision by the company which puts ads on the shelters, trans-Tasman business Adshel, to remove the campaign. She says it went against prevailing community standards to introduce sexuality to young children through forced exposure in public. New Zealand AIDS Foundation has joined many New Zealanders is supporting the backlash against the decision on a Facebook page which already has thousands of members. It says the latest Get it On! billboards featuring 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 and have not attracted any complaints. NZAF Executive Director Shaun Robinson says the ads are essential for the sexual health of the gay communities. He has spoken to his counterpart at the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities' to let him know the Foundation stands with him. "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." A Get it On! billboard peddles safe sex in inner city Auckland. 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 most affected by HIV – New Zealand’s gay and bisexual men.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Wednesday, 1st June 2011 - 2:59pm

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