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Is NYC HIV Prevention Ad Going Too Far?

I currently do not smoke and never have. NYC Health Department still uses "scare tactics" to prevent people from smoking with ads at local businesses which sell cigarettes and through commercials. Graphic images of peoples' lungs, throat, brain and even amputated fingers show the affect of smoking on the body. These are facts not predictions, well not everyone has to have their fingers amputated after a life time of smoking. I do not understand the fascination, the addiction or glamor of smoking. I'm also allergic to smoke and therefore I agree with the "scare tactics" of this ad campaign. 

The city's new HIV prevention ads are a different story. I personally know some individuals who have been HIV positive for over 20 years with no signs of illness. One guy isn't even on medication. So to say that HIV leads to a diagnosis of AIDS and/or some type of side effect is only a prediction. I believe this ad campaign will create an overwhelming sense of fear and even add more stigma to HIV in NYC but I think I'm just preaching to the choir on this one.


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Comments on David Capogna's blog entry "Is NYC HIV Prevention Ad Going Too Far?"

I disagree with your blanket assessment of this ad campaign. In the early 1990’s San Francisco launched a strong poster campaign to try to reduce the spread of HIV. This campaign showed images of people with facial wasting, lipodistrophy, crux belly, buffalo humps, and diarrhea. These were bold and true images of some of the things that came along with HIV and AIDS. And there was the same argument then about their boldness that there is now with the ads in New York. When I saw those images in San Francisco and realized the potential of what they represented, I changed my sexual lifestyle. Unfortunately, for me, those ads came too late. I tested positive at my next routine check-up. Had I been exposed to that strong ad campaign sooner, then it’s possible that my life could be very different right now. These ads in New York might not speak to you, but then, you can’t speak for everyone about what effect the ads might have on them. They could very well keep someone from going through what I’m going through now. As a person who contracted HIV at a young age, I feel that any effort that is made to reduce contraction rates should be welcomed, no matter how embarrassed someone might be as a result. Each of us has to live up to our own mistakes of the past. We should not risk the possible infection of new people in an effort to save our own embarrassment. Some of us need to see a heavy dose of potential risk in order to better protect ourselves. I think the New York ads are fantastic!

I’m very happy to debate you on this subject. In 1993 at age 22, I was also diagnosed with HIV. I wish NYC was running these ads during the every 1990’s as well. At that time I didn’t think I would ever see my 30 birthday. HIV means that AIDS was in my future and usually that would lead me to an early dead. I suffered from TB and PCP during the 90’s. These diseases are ancient history in terms of AIDS. But let’s be clear the only options were AZT and d4T, both are extremely toxic to the body. Also Clindamycin and Primaquine were managing my PCP for over 6 years. As a result I development cirrhosis of the liver, wasting and osteoporosis soon followed. My face looks the way it does only because of years of facial filler costing thousands of dollars. I think I’ve proven my point that I’ve gone through similar experiences with AIDS.
It’s been 20 years since those days and the development of new meds, more research, more doctors focusing on HIV, etc. One does not get wasting or osteoporosis from the new meds. Anal cancer?! That’s image is just to scare the living daylights out of you. If I were 20-something, I’m never have sex again for the rest of my life! When the commercial states “When you get HIV it’s not just HIV…” this is more a lie than truth. More importantly, what about the stigma it creates for you and me. I feel like a monster or “damaged goods” on a dating site or meeting a new partner.
Read more - Larry Kramer and Sean Strub have already started an online argument on the topic:

As a gay HIV+ man I have built a strong social and political network to fight stigma such as the one the commercial creates.

I feel sorry for the anonymous commenter who wished the ads were around back then but he belongs to the older generation of infected HIV men who had to deal with some very tough issues. I am indebted to his strength & life experiences but I do not relate to him.

HIV is a very manageable disease if you have good insurance and supportive friends. The toughest thing about the disease is the mental anguish caused by the stigma. Thanks to modern medications the physical damage is almost laughable now.

I think that "laughable " is a poor choice of words but having been through deafness, paralysis and blindness from complications due to HIV/AIDS I would have to say that education comes in many forms. If my interminable pain could have been averted by any means I surely would have welcomed it.

I was diagnosed in feb 1993, and have been though a roller coaster since then with this disease. I disagree completely with david as to the fact of the osteoporosis coming with this. I have been living with hiv since 1993 and living with AIDS since oct. 1995. I have been though almost every drug there is, and as a direct result of side effects of these meds I personally have had to deal with Aspergillus in my sinuses, lipodistrophy, diabetes (insulin dependant)from taking Crixivan, a cholesterol level of 560 that was from a drug i was on and only to late they discovered that it was also a side effect, as I had had a perfect cholesterol level in the past, but it was to late I had to have a quadruple bypass and 6 stents at the age of 38, I also have rapid onset of spinal arthritis and now I have it in 5 of my fingers and my knees and my ankles, also a direct side effect of meds, I also have peripheral neuropathy in my legs and muscle neuropathy in my legs, and the arthritis is getting measurably worse. And I am now having memory problems and am forgetting things all the time. It is scary as hell, and I am having to start seeing a pshychiatrist, I also have some depression. I have had shingles and thrush in the past. I now am on 22 different meds a day, 4 of witch are pain meds, 3 AIDS meds, 2 insulins, and a slew of others for heart health and such, I am now 45, I expect to live a good deal longer, I just have to manage my symptoms. I think they need to come and talk to people like us who have had this for a long time and get our input. But the ads are correct and I think should maybe be a bit harder. If I had seen this when I was younger I would have been a lot more careful. Stay well everyone, and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

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This page contains a single entry by David Capogna published on December 13, 2010 11:31 PM.

Recently Diagnosed & Starting Meds? This Is For You! was the previous entry in this blog.

This Father's Day is Different is the next entry in this blog.

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