A New York City department of health PSA graphically warns gay and bisexual men that contracting HIV could lead to other health problems like bone loss, dementia, and anal cancer, in a new campaign launched earlier this month.
The "Never Just HIV" campaign is an attempt to prevent people from feeling that HIV is not as harsh as a disease as it once was simply because treatments are more available and effective. The public service announcement, which briefly shows a person with anal cancer, will air on broadcast television for two weeks and then reappear in January for a additional two weeks.
“I hope all New Yorkers will heed the stark message of this campaign and take personal responsibility for their health and that of their partners,” Thomas Farley, New York City health commissioner, said in a statement Tuesday. “We have made tremendous progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, but this is no time for complacency. HIV continues to take a major toll on men who have sex with men — regardless of whether they identify as gay — and the virus is spreading more each year in those under 30. This spot should serve as a wake-up call. Unprotected sex is still dangerous, and more partners means more risk.”
According to the department, the PSA targets men who have sex with men, a group that accounts for about 44% of new HIV diagnoses annually in New York City.
Along with the PSA campaign, the department makes these recommendations: Use condoms and lubricant when having sex, and avoid alcohol and drugs when a sexual situation may occur because people are less likely to use protection when under the influence.