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Controversial HIV Ads Increase Condom Use; New Campaigns to Launch in Los Angeles, San Francisco

March 5, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

A controversial advertisement campaign directed at HIV-positive people has been influential in increasing condom use among the target audience, according to evaluations. After seeing "HIV Stops with Me" ads when they first aired in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2000, 19 percent of 87 gay and bisexual HIV-positive men surveyed said they were more likely to use a condom with HIV-negative or unknown status partners. Preliminary data evaluating the 2001 campaign showed 40 percent of HIV-positive men more likely to use condoms during intercourse after seeing the ads.

The CDC-funded campaign features HIV-positive spokesmodels in print ads and TV spots, on postcards, and on an interactive Web-site. The campaign's message is that it takes a positive person to infect a negative person with HIV. The ads sparked debate not only due to their message -- they were the first to directly target positives -- but also because local television stations refused to air the spots during certain hours.

"It was something that hadn't been spoken about much. A lot of people who were positive were frustrated other positives were not being responsible," said Les Papas, president of Better World Advertising. Last year Boston became the second city to use the prevention message. This year the campaign debuted in Los Angeles, though not in TV spots.

During the 2000 evaluations, 74 percent of viewers felt the commercial was convincing. More than 30 percent of the target audience reported they were more likely to feel part of a strong, supportive HIV community. Of respondents, 29 percent were more likely to believe that HIV-positive people have a responsibility to end HIV, while 23 percent were more likely to believe it is their responsibility to keep partners negative. Nearly 19 percent of respondents were more likely to disclose their HIV status to their partner before sex, while HIV-positive gay and bisexual men were 23 percent more likely to be optimistic about their future health. If the ads continue to be effective, the CDC will fund a fourth year for the pilot project to air ads in 2003.

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Adapted from:
Bay Area Reporter
02.14.02; Matthew S. Bajko

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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