Swiss Health Ministry Withdraws Two AIDS Education Ads To Avoid Upsetting Catholic Bishops
The Swiss health ministry has withdrawn two HIV/AIDS education advertisements that promoted condom use to avoid upsetting the country's Catholic bishops, Reuters Health reports. One of the advertisements, a poster written in German, said, "Dear Father, if Rome doesn't want you to talk about contraception, then talk about condoms instead." The posters are part of a nationwide campaign aimed at stopping the spread of HIV in the country, where the number of new HIV cases increased by 25% last year. Marc Aellan, deputy general secretary of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, said that the church is not against the HIV/AIDS education campaign but found the two ads promoting condoms "particularly offensive," according to Reuters Health. Health ministry spokesperson Sandra Meier said that the ads were pulled because the language -- using Rome instead of the Vatican -- was inaccurate, not because the ads offended Catholics, according to Reuters Health. "We realized that the campaign would provoke a reaction," Meier said, adding, "It was never our intention to attack Rome, the Vatican or the Church, or to hurt religious feelings." Juerg Schaub, the posters' designer, said that the ads were intended to get people talking about AIDS again, according to Reuters Health. If controversy was necessary to accomplish the campaign's goal, "so be it," Schaub said, according to Reuters Health. Aellan said that the church does not condemn condom use to stop HIV transmission, adding that fidelity is the "best protection" (Glass, Reuters Health, 4/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.