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Unsafe sex a concern for Wellington Pride

Fri 27 Jul 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

Proud '07, Wellington's Queer Pride Week, has commissioned its own safe sex print campaign after an HIV-information absence caused worry for some of the event's organisers. In the past, the New Zealand AIDS Foundation has provided assistance with promotion of safe sex through community publications, but this changed recently following a shift in focus whereby most of their limited advertising dollars are being poured into internet advertising, says the Pride Week team. "We noticed a real danger-point," says Aaron Hailwood of Proud '07. "We didn't feel comfortable creating a publication for an event as large as Pride Week without carrying the safe sex message." The advertisement features in Proud Newpaper, the official Pride Week publication. It features a man half-way through stripping, with a quote saying: “Oh, and I only fuck bare... still keen?” It goes on to warn people against unsafe sex, even if a man appears healthy. "The concept for the advert came from the dangerous idea that hot guys somehow don't carry HIV," says Andy Boreham, creator of the advertisement. Boreham has worked with The New Zealand AIDS Foundation for the past few years on campaigns such as Love Is..., Men Seeking Men, Assume Nothing and Safe TXT. Funding for the advertisement came from the many Wellington groups and companies that support Proud '07. "Thanks to the generosity of these people, we were able to fund this safe sex advertisement." Aaron says that while safe-sex messages targeting internet users are important, people who view other media are still just as in need of the safe sex message. "When it comes to a community event such as Proud '07 having to create and fund its own safe sex messages, that's when the government needs to take notice." Douglas Jenkin, the Team Co-ordinator for the AIDS Foundation's Gay Men's Health team, says "it's really great news to hear gay men saying they don't feel comfortable proceeding with major community events without ensuring that safe sex is promoted. "We congratulate Proud 07 organisers on their initiative for devising their own safe sex ads for Pride Week. NZAF has always acknowledged that for HIV prevention to be successful, we alone cannot be responsible for the promotion of safe sex - there must be community buy-in." The Gay Men's Health team was pleased to be able to contribute $1,000 towards Wellington Pride Week, which is being used to sponsor the High School Prom event, says Jenkin. "More importantly, we will have a physical presence at a range of Pride Week events, promoting safe sex and distributing condoms. These include the High School Prom, Test The Queer Nation quiz night, and the BYO Parent night for parents of gay youth. "Two safe sex promotional films which we have funded in previous years will screen as part of a short film festival at The Film Archive." Jenkin says the NZAF is doing it's best to minimise reduction of print advertising while maintaining a presence on the internet, “where an increasing number of men are meeting for sex, including many bisexual and non-community attached gay men who are unlikely to receive safe sex messages anywhere else. This advertising is costly, but necessary. "In addition, gay community events have flourished around the country over the last few years, so we are now subject to an increasing number of requests for funding to assist, all of which must come from a fixed budget."     Ref: Wellington Pride, NZAF (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 27th July 2007 - 4:42pm

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