April / May #7 : S.O.S. - by Sean O. Strub

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

Larry Kramer, With Sugar On Top

Peter Jennings Gets Angry

POZ Reads

Time After Times

Does Your City Test for Crypto?

S.O.S.

Sex, Lies & Videotape

A Queen for Connie

Liver To Tell

That Sinking Feeling

Who Say's There's No Glamour?

Feel the Burn, Baby

Hurry Up and Wait

John Milks Booth

Surefire Man-bagger

Greg Louganis Surfaces

Why Not a Cure?

Delta, Delta, Delta

Christian Soldiers

My Brother, My Self

Casey's Pop Life

Mississippi Burning



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

April / May 1995

S.O.S.

by Sean O. Strub

French attitude toward AIDS is truly offensive

For half a century, France has sought to cleanse the part of its past that collaborated with the Nazis and denied the death camps. In AIDS as well, France now has a past, as they were the last major Western nation to screen their blood supply for HIV. Tens of thousands were exposed because of greed and blind nationalism. And the campaign to cleanse that past is already underway. The most recent salvo was a self-righteous French court’s decision to fine Benetton $32, 000 because the court found Benetton’s advertising campaign offensive.

What was offensive about it?
   
The ad dared to show a vital, robust man pictured with a tattoo that said “HIV positive.” The court said it upset people. No kidding. The court said it “evoked Nazi barbarity.” No kidding. That’s the point.
   
Visible expressions of one’s HIV status—namely, tattoos—are increasingly used as an empowerment tool (see POZ Nos. 2 and 3) to erase the shame and stigma so many associate with AIDS. That’s the same reason why I and so many other people with AIDS have gone public with our status. Many Holocaust survivors wear death camp numeric tattoos for the rest of their lives, preventing the world from forgetting the genocide. Similarly, many people have had their HIV status written on their skin to fight society’s denial of AIDS and to make sure the world will never forget the genocide we are in the midst of today.
   
Peter Fressola, Benetton’s spokesperson, says, “If these ads call to mind the brutality of Nazism, so be it. It’s not an inappropriate interpretation of the image, considering that at various right wingers have advocated Nazi-like tactics to deal with AIDS.”
   
Benetton’s campaign is part of their ongoing effort to highlight critical social issues. It puts AIDS directly in people’s faces. And it makes some of them, especially in France, apparently uncomfortable.
    
The French court’s decision about its national discomfort, which is quite obviously spelled d-e-n-i-a-l. France’s AIDS denial is far ore reflective of Nazi-era attitudes than Benetton’s awareness-building advertising campaign. Denial of the scope of the problem. Denial of the condoms to young people. Denial of honest education. Denial of information tools—such as treatment education, home access HIV testing and alternative therapies—which can give people the information they need to survive.
   
Fortunately, Benetton intends to appeal the judgment. History will no doubt record the French court’s retrograde decision as reflective of precisely why Benetton’s campaign is so revolutionary, so vital and so courageous.
   
My message to France: You’ve got AIDS and censoring a billboard isn’t going to make it go away.
   
Enjoy POZ but be careful not to talk about AIDS. In France (and elsewhere) they’re liable to call you offensive.
 

Search: France, Sean Strub


Scroll down to comment on this story.





Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


         

[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    aqua_31206
    Macon
    Georgia


    InDefaultOf
    Seattle
    Washington


    youngbloodlatino
    Columbia
    Maryland


    thebake
    Sioux Falls
    South Dakota
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Do you work with your doc to design your own treatment regimen?
Yes
No

Survey
PrEP Course

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.