The Queensland Association for Healthy Communities has responded to the state government’s new HIV prevention scare campaign, calling it a ‘missed opportunity’ in an article in the Star Observer.
“While we welcome increased public attention to HIV, this is a missed opportunity the update people on the reality of living with HIV today,” [QAHC CEO Paul] Martin said.
“It is also a missed opportunity to encourage people who may be at risk to come forward for testing and treatment and to inform and remind people how to prevent transmission of HIV.”
Responding to the criticism of the ad, Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said, “We needed a campaign that would reach everybody.”
Well, no. While ‘everybody’ should be aware of HIV and take steps to prevent themselves, not ‘everybody’ is at equal risk. More than 80% of people diagnosed in Queensland are gay men, which is why previous Queensland governments funded QAHC to do prevention work targeted at gay men. Spending a half-million dollars on a TV campaign to tell ‘everybody’ about HIV is not a cost-effective way to educate people who are at real risk.
Yours truly also gets a mention in the story:
Local LGBTI community member Paul Kidd released his own version of the new commercial on YouTube supporting QAHC, titled ‘Lawrence Springborg Shouldn’t Be Making This Ad’.