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Israeli Ad Takes On Illicit Drug Use

Israeli Ad Takes On Illicit Drug Use


An advertising campaign crafted by an Israeli media firm aims to lower the HIV risks for gay and bisexual men who use club drugs by urging them to practice safer sex any time they have sex while under the influence. Called 'Safe Yourself,' the campaign includes an ad that uses direct language and blunt imagery to grab the attention of at-risk gay men. The ad includes the line 'If you use this...' next to the image of an ecstasy pill, followed by 'You must use this!' adjacent to an image of a condom. Produced by media company Bad Boys in collaboration with the Israeli gay organization Aguda and the national health ministry, the ad is appearing in gay publications and on key Web sites that men in the region use to meet sex partners. The campaign was launched after studies in Israel showed drug and alcohol use commonly lead to unprotected sex among young men, says Mike Hamel, chairman of Aguda. 'In order to effectively tackle the issue,' he says, 'we had to go to the core and address it directly without being overly politically correct and without trying to mask it.' Planned upcoming ads will focus on the links between cocaine and alcohol use and STD risks. While some critics have complained about the inclusion of an illegal ecstasy pill, Bad Boys founder Roni Ben Or says, 'It would have been very easy to use some sophisticated, colorful, creative trick, but the message must be carved into [the minds of] those who risk themselves and avoid using a condom. Drugs are part of the club and sex scene, and one cannot afford to ignore this issue.'

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