The NYC health department announced this morning that it's taking its latest HIV campaign -- that's the fear-mongering one that lit up so much controversy in December -- to the subway.
At the same time, to address concerns provoked by the campaign, the agency's assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS prevention and control has posted a video (see below) explaining the rationale behind the campaign. "These ads are unpleasant," says Dr. Monica Sweeney, "and so is HIV."
In December, New York City launched a video featuring bloody anuses and rotten bones, designed to teach young men to use condoms to avoid HIV. Much of the local (and national) AIDS and LGBT community harshly criticized the ad, positing that it only increased stigma and discouraged testing. One of the chief complaints from the local Ryan White Planning Council, which consists of 41 individuals with intimate knowledge of the city's AIDS issues, was that the council was never consulted in the campaign's development.
It appears that once again the Department of Health has acted without consulting AIDS advocates: When Sweeney met with the council in January to assuage fears about the video ad, she made no mention that the DOH planned to roll out of a subway version of the campaign.
No word on when New Yorkers will start seeing the ads.