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Gay safe sex bus shelter attacked

Thu 25 Jan 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation says it is saddened and disappointed by a violent homophobic attack on one of its central Auckland bus shelter advertisements earlier this week. The advertisement was one in a series of nine limited placements designed to address the burgeoning number of HIV cases among gay and bisexual men in the inner city. It was first defaced with anti-gay graffiti, then smashed. Aucklander Daniel Gardiner took pictures of the vandalized bus shelter (available to view on the links below). “If only the hater could spell,” he jokes. “I am surprised that in 2007, two blocks from K Road and a few minutes walk from Ponsonby, that someone can be that closed minded about sexuality,” says Gardiner. “It is most likely someone young who wasn't really thinking - or spelling! But, the affects an attitude like that could have an individual or the people around them are huge.” The NZAF's Gay Men's Health Team Co-ordinator Douglas Jenkin says police have been informed about the attack, which appears to be an isolated incident. “The campaign has been running since December, and we've received no complaints. With 45% of New Zealand's gay and bisexual population living in Auckland, there's a lot of support when incidents like this occur. It's a lot harder for gay and bisexual men in more isolated communities,” says Jenkin. Jenkin says feedback has otherwise been very positive about the campaign, which promotes condom use and HIV awareness for gay and bisexual men hooking up via the Internet. “We're saddened and disappointed by the vandalism, but it won't stop us from doing public advertising in the future,” Jenkin assures. “The safe sex message is too important. There's one new gay or bi man becoming infected with HIV every four days in Auckland, the highest rate in twenty years. Prejudice we can work on, but there's no cure for HIV.”     Ref: Dan News, NZAF, (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 25th January 2007 - 12:00pm

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