Gay-inclusive HIV ads spark backlash in Chile

BY Advocate.com Editors

December 06 2003 12:00 AM ET

The Chilean government's media campaign against HIV/AIDS hit a snag recently when three leading Chilean TV stations refused to air a series of commercials launched for World AIDS Day that include images of a gay male couple in bed. The four commercials feature a married man having an affair, a teenager having unprotected sex, a housewife whose husband is cheating on her, and the gay couple. The commercials show people looking in the mirror and asking themselves why they are not taking precautions against HIV. The channels that rejected the spots say they allegedly violate the channels' editorial policies. Two other channels aired the spots.

"We're talking about people dying here," said government spokesman Francisco Vidal. "I have my own opinion about infidelity and homosexuality, but they exist. So how do we deal with a problem like this? Looking at the ceiling or dealing with it?" Throughout Latin America, homophobia is one of the biggest obstacles to proper treatment of the estimated 2 million people with HIV/AIDS in the region, according to a study by the Pan American Health Organization.

Tags: Health

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