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International News

Chile: Flood of Criticism for Tasteless AIDS Campaign

December 14, 2010

An open letter from HIV/AIDS activists to Chilean Health Minister Jorge Mañalich urges him to rethink an HIV prevention campaign, saying the ads are offensive and ineffective.

The TV spots target people ages 15-29, the demographic at highest risk, and began running Dec. 5. Government officials say the campaign's humorous, playful tone comports with that of social networking sites popular with young people. It is the first major health prevention campaign by the government of right-wing President Sebastián Piñera.

One ad shows an elderly couple who suddenly keel over and die, to offstage applause and confetti. "It's much more fun to die of old age than to die of AIDS. And if you die with your lifelong partner, so much the better. Avoid AIDS: be faithful," the ad says. Viewers are directed to a website for more information and the location of HIV testing centers.

Another ad shows an actress being made up to look like she has various illnesses. When she is made up to represent "AIDS," she is dressed for a party. "You can't see AIDS, but that's no reason for us to act blind. Take the test, and bring your partner with you," the ad implores.

The campaign is "insulting to people living with HIV, telling them it is fun to die of old age but not of AIDS, which is a return to the AIDS=death equation, which was overcome in earlier campaigns thanks to the influence of civil society," said the letter from Vivo Positivo, a group that links organizations of people living with HIV/AIDS across Chile.

"What needs to be said, no matter who likes or doesn't like it, is that consistent use of condoms is still the most effective method to avoid HIV," said Vivo Positivo's Manuel Jorquera.

Vivo Positivo is considering filing a court injunction against the Health Ministry for "attacking the right to life."

Back to other news for December 2010

Adapted from:
Inter Press Service
12.08.2010; Daniela Estrada

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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.
See Also
More on HIV in Other South American Countries

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