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AIDS Healthcare Foundation targets Reyataz ads

AIDS Healthcare Foundation targets Reyataz ads

The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Thursday asked drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb to stop running an advertisement for the company's protease inhibitor Reyataz that features two men on a beach playing backgammon under the tagline "The Word on HIV: Fight HIV Your Way," The Wall Street Journal reports. The ad, which appears in several national publications, including HIV Plus magazine, also has an audio chip that plays a simulated telephone answering machine message that says: "Hey! We're at the beach. Catch you later." AHF says the ad minimizes the seriousness of HIV disease and its treatment and warns that it could lead to a lack of concern about contracting the illness. "It says that I don't have to be careful about getting HIV because I can go to the beach and pop pills," AHF president Michael Weinstein told the Journal. Weinstein says the pharmaceutical industry in 2001 changed its advertisements for anti-HIV drugs when they were criticized for showing attractive, muscular men climbing mountains and running marathons, which AIDS activists said minimized the seriousness of HIV disease. He says BMS should similarly review and change its Reyataz campaign. A BMS spokesman said the company strives to "depict HIV-positive people in a responsible way" and that the company takes "how people are portrayed in our advertising very seriously."

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