San Francisco HIV campaign targets Internet users
Health officials in San Francisco at a press conference Tuesday announced the launch of a new media campaign aimed at encouraging safer sex among gay men who use the Internet to find sex partners. The campaign, called "Be-Clear," includes 38 images of gay men seeking sex partners online, and will include subway posters in the Castro Street underground municipal railway (MUNI) station, posters displayed in storefronts throughout the Castro section of the city, postcards handed out at the city's gay pride celebration on June 27, and a Web site at www.be-clear.org. The campaign aims to provide gay men with information on HIV and other sexually transmitted disease risks associated with hooking up online, and uses common chat room language and abbreviations to help gay men be more familiar with online terminology when negotiating safer sex online.
The campaign was developed by social marketing designers Raul Cabra and Andy Williams, and funded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health and drug firm Bristol-Myers Squibb. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies also helped shape the campaign. "We are hoping this campaign supports gay men in their pursuit of pleasure via the Internet," says Cabra. "We produced it to help gay men realize that the risks for HIV transmission have not decreased online because, while the language seems to the point and clear, it is actually often vague and inaccurate and even misleading." The campaign will continue through July 18.