Quebec Health Department To Unveil Controversial AIDS Awareness Advertisements
The Quebec Health and Social Services Department plans to unveil a new series of "racy and explicit" government-sponsored advertisements to promote AIDS awareness, the Montreal Gazette reports. The ads, developed by Montreal-based ad agency Marketel, will appear in "alternative" newspapers and bar bathrooms in major metropolitan centers in Quebec, the Gazette reports. The ads depict tombstone statues of a young girl using injection drugs and a heterosexual couple and a homosexual couple engaged in sexual intercourse; the epitaphs read, "AIDS is still around, 1981-" (Sevunts, Montreal Gazette, 11/15). The ads will appear through Feb. 9, 2004. Health department spokesperson Dominique Breton said, "We wanted to remind young people the threat of AIDS is still here," adding, "It's sad, but young people still associate AIDS with drug addicts, homosexuals or (with) certain ethnicity. They forget it can happen to them, too" (Sevunts, CanWest/National Post, 11/15). Gilles DuSablon, vice president and creative director at Marketel, said that about one-third of HIV-positive Quebec residents are unaware of their HIV status. He added, "That's why the government has asked us to come up with a campaign to raise awareness about AIDS." Luc Gagnon, executive director of the AIDS support group Comité des Personnes Atteintes du VIH, said, "People don't talk about AIDS anymore," adding, "Today's young people between the ages 15 and 25 missed the big public awareness drive of the 1980s. For them, AIDS simply doesn't exist." Gagnon added that if the message in the ads "reaches people, hits them, that is what [is] important. Right now, there is a silence that is more dangerous than any issue of bad taste. The important issue is whether the campaign provokes a change of behavior" (Montreal Gazette, 11/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.