The New York City health department has unveiled a graphic new ad that is running on YouTube and local TV stations to warn about the continuing seriousness of H.I.V. The goal of the ad seems to be to counter the plethora of pharmaceutical ads that suggest a false sense of safety with new H.I.V. treatments. The ad warns against life-threatening diseases that can accompany H.I.V. and urges condom use.
In response, several gay activist groups are speaking out in opposition to the ad, saying it not only stigmatizes gay men, but also uses scare tactics. While I think that would be true if the audience was the general market, I think this ad is targeted specifically toward gay men, many of whom really need to see this to get the picture given the overwhelming absence of education that's out there. Personally, I think fear works, and this stuff is reality that we shouldn't try to sugarcoat. There's no need to fear people with HIV, but if fearing the disease can help prevent more people from becoming infected, then I say it's right on strategy. Take a look and judge for yourself. (Warning-some images are graphic and disturbing).
Read the full New York Times Article here.