Australian Associated Press (08.12.12)
The nonprofit LGBT organization Healthy Communities said it has relaunched its “Rip & Roll” safe-sex advertising campaign. The ads show a condom and feature three fully clothed gay men posed in a non-sexual, friendly manner. The ad is up on 35 bus shelters in inner Brisbane as well as billboards in other locations throughout the state.
Last year’s ad for “Rip & Roll” was the most complained about in Australia, with the Advertising Standards board logging 222 negative comments. It featured a gay couple hugging in a friendly way, with one holding a condom. Advertising firm Adshel pulled the posters down but then decided to put them back up days later, noting the Australian Christian Lobby had “orchestrated” the ad-removal push.
Paul Martin, executive director of Healthy Communities, said his group designed this year’s ad “to be as subtle as possible.” However, “Safe sex is something that constantly needs to be reinforced, and it’s also important that we do show that we haven’t been scared off,” he added.
In May, the new conservative state government pulled $2.5 million (US $2.6 million) in grants from the 28-year-old organization. Citing HIV rates that had doubled in the past decade, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg redirected the HIV prevention funds into a new Ministerial Advisory Committee.
Martin said he hopes the governing Liberal National Party will avoid scare tactics. “Shame, fear or blame doesn’t work,” he said. “What the Australian and international research shows is that the most effective way to do HIV prevention is to do work with affected communities and do peer education.”