The New York City Dept. of Health has just released an extremely graphic online public service awareness advert that is already being criticized by HIV activists and prevention experts. The spot is entitled "Its Never Just HIV" and a menacing horror movie trailer-style voiceover warns viewers, "If you test positive for HIV, even if you take your medications you're at higher risk for dozens of diseases ... And you're over 28 times more likely to get anal cancer."
The PSA uses very graphic images of the effects of anal cancer, as well as time-lapse MRIs to illustrate the effects of dementia. Activists say the statistics are inaccurate and the1980s-style scare tactics only further stigmatize HIV/AIDS and gay/bisexual men. "Who consulted on this? Focus on the Family?" asks the HIV/AIDS prevention and health blog Lifelube."David Bahati, our friendly Ugandan legislator who wants gays imprisoned or dead? How many guys who don't know their status - and should know their status - will be convinced by this horror show to get tested? Would you want to know your status if this told the truth about what lay in store for you? Negative guys - will the lovely glimpse of anal cancer make you wear a condom every single time, maybe scare you into a full latex body suit?"
Warning: Some images very graphic. Watch AFTER THE JUMP