Chilean TV channels sued over AIDS ads
January 15 2004 1:00 AM ET
Three Chilean television stations that refused to broadcast an HIV prevention advertisement targeting gay and bisexual men are being sued by Chile's Unified Movement of Sexual Minorities, The Lancet reports. The lawsuit contends that the nation's constitutional right to health is being denied to gay men who could benefit from the messages in the ads. Chile's National AIDS Commission, in association with local AIDS service organizations, produced the spots. Health officials say stronger HIV prevention outreach is needed to reach gay and bisexual men, who account for more than 80% of the nation's HIV and AIDS cases.
Two of the channels that refused to air the ad are owned by the Catholic Church, which says it rejected the ads because they allegedly encourage promiscuity by saying having multiple partners is acceptable as long as condoms are used. But critics say the channels employ a double standard, showing promiscuous heterosexuals in popular soap operas broadcast on the stations. "They constantly use sexual images to promote consumption, but when those images refer to the sexual transmission of HIV, they start promoting their editorial line," said Anrabella Arredondo, coordinator of the national AIDS commission. "This campaign is directed at people who are involved in high-risk behavior, and the means at their disposal for protecting themselves is condom use."