Toronto AIDS Committee Launches ‘Condom Country’ Ads Aimed at Gay Men
The AIDS Committee of Toronto has launched an ad campaign titled "Welcome to Condom Country," featuring cowboys resembling Philip Morris' Marlboro Man. The ads feature the slogan "HIV is on the rise in Toronto. Ride Safely." In one ad, two men are riding a horse and in another, two men are about to kiss, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports. Naked Creative Consultancy, a Toronto-based ad agency, created the ads free of charge to coincide with the city's Gay Pride Week. The ads will appear in subways, transit shelters, restaurants and bathhouses, as well as in the city's weekly newspapers. "We wanted something that was eye-catching. If it gets talked about around dinner tables that's terrific," Simon Billing, an NCC partner, said (Heinzl, Toronto Globe and Mail, 6/19). The ads, which will be seen nationwide by this fall, were created in response to an "upward trend" of HIV infection among gay men in Toronto. The number of new HIV infections among gay men in the city last year was 7% higher than in 1999 and 34% higher than in 1996, according to a study conducted by Dr. Liviana Calzavara of the University of Toronto that was released Monday. Dr. Donald Gelhorn, president of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, said the success of antiretroviral therapies has caused people to think HIV/AIDS is somehow "less serious." Charles Roy, executive director of the AIDS committee, added that gay men have also "fall[en] victim to safer-sex 'burnout'" and are neglecting to use condoms for fear of "rejection" or out of a desire for "greater intimacy" with their partners. "There's a changed perception that AIDS isn't the crisis it was before. People are becoming complacent as a result of that, and unfortunately nothing can be further from the truth," he added (Lethbridge Herald, 6/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.