"Safe Sex is Hot Sex" and Other Messages We Got About HIV and Sex

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The public awareness campaigns surrounding HIV/AIDS have been a staple of urban billboards, bus shelters, and LGBT magazines for decades. The messages promoting prevention and testing have taken every possible tack. But which message works best? Do the menacing ads promote stigma? Do the ads with muscled, smiling men reduce the urgency of testing? The images’ transformations over the years tell the story of developing priorities and innovative strategies, and a growing awareness that HIV doesn’t discriminate.

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