n the lead up to World AIDS Day 2008, NHS Lothian in partnership with voluntary organisations based in Edinburgh and the Lothians will launch a new phase of HIV: The Comeback Tour, their award-winning HIV prevention campaign.
HIV: The Comeback Tour is an exciting and innovative social marketing campaign targeting gay and bisexual men in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Acknowledging the rising rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections amongst gay and bisexual men, the campaign is now in its second year of promoting HIV prevention messages. Based on research findings and extensive local consultation, the Campaign resources follow the theme of a music Comeback Tour highlighting the ‘resurgence’ of HIV and its fading from the consciousness of some gay and bisexual men.
The current phase of the campaign focuses on challenging assumptions made about sexual risk taking, promoting condom use and encouraging regular HIV testing. Steve O’Donnell, Gay Men’s Health said, “The key messages of the HIV Comeback Tour are that people should get tested for HIV and use condoms when having sex. We know from research that up to 40% of gay men in Scotland with HIV don’t know they have the virus. In many cases HIV transmission occurs within relationships, so we are reminding gay men that it is dangerous simply to assume that neither they nor their partner has HIV or that unprotected sex will be safe.”
This phase of the campaign will feature specially designed posters and postcards incorporating this year’s World AIDS Day message of “Respect and Protect” in all of Edinburgh’ gay venues; GP surgeries, pharmacies and libraries throughout Lothian. The Campaign will also feature a high profile media campaign using Lothian buses; regular peer education sessions where trained volunteers engage gay and bisexual men in conversations about HIV testing and condom use; internet outreach; publicity in local and gay media and a series of “tour dates” where the “merchandise stall” will be available at events organised in various venues in and around Edinburgh.
The Campaign is funded by NHS Lothian and is co-ordinated in partnership with Gay Men’s Health, Edinburgh; LGBT Youth Scotland, ROAM Outreach, Healthy Gay Scotland and Waverley Care.