Graphic video aims for safe gay sex

Push­ing for use of con­doms

The Hutt News - - NEWS - By BLAKE CRAYTON-BROWN

Tucked away be­hind a se­ries of R18 warn­ing la­bels on an AIDS Foun­da­tion web­site lies a video called ‘‘How to Have Anal Sex’’.

It’s graphic – show­ing an uniden­ti­fi­able man putting on a con­dom be­fore do­ing the deed with his equally uniden­ti­fi­able part­ner.

It doesn’t mince its words – with a nar­ra­tor la­belling the act f****** as op­posed to us­ing po­lite eu­phemisms.

And it’s an ev­i­dence- based ap­proach to sex ed­u­ca­tion that is de­liv­er­ing mea­sur­able re­sults in con­dom use amongst young gay and bi­sex­ual men, ac­cord­ing to AIDS Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Shaun Robin­son.

The video is part of the AIDS Foun­da­tion’s Get It On cam­paign, an on­line, so­cial me­dia based ap­proach to en­cour­ag­ing con­dom use amongst the big­gest cat­e­gory at risk of con­tract­ing HIV/AIDS in New Zealand – gay and bi­sex­ual men.

Robin­son

said con­dom use amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) was de­clin­ing world­wide.

‘‘I’d have to say that New Zealand is largely buck­ing that trend, or cer­tainly that con­dom use is de­clin­ing much more slowly in New Zealand,’’ Robin­son said.

‘‘And it’s from a much higher level to start with than in other parts of the world.’’

The preva­lence of HIV amongst New Zealand’s MSM pop­u­la­tion was at 6.5 per cent ac­cord­ing to a 2012 BMC Public Health re­port – one of the low­est rates in the world. This com­pared to a 14 per cent preva­lence in Australia.

‘‘Be­tween 80 and 85 per cent of gay men use con­doms most of the time for ca­sual sex,’’ Robin­son said.

‘‘That’s very, very high by in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.’’

But there had been a decline of a few per­cent­age points over a 10 year pe­riod and this was of con­cern to the foun­da­tion.

One of the mooted ex­pla­na­tions for this re­duc­tion was a lack of ad­e­quate sex ed­u­ca­tion for same­sex at­tracted men.

‘‘The sex ed­u­ca­tion that there is in schools is of­ten very het­eronor­ma­tive and doesn’t re­ally tell gay young men any­thing that’s par- tic­u­larly rel­e­vant Robin­son said.

‘‘In­ter­na­tion­ally what young gay men are do­ing is go­ing to the in­ter­net and look­ing at porn for tips on sex­u­al­ity and of course that’s not nec­es­sar­ily the health­i­est or safest means of get­ting in­for­ma­tion.’’

Robin­son said in or­der to pro­mote con­dom use amongst young gay men, the AIDS Foun­da­tion needed to be in that on­line space where they were look­ing for in­for­ma­tion.

And the video ex­plain­ing how to have anal sex on the Love Your Con­dom web­site formed part of that sex-pos­i­tive, safe-sex ed­u­ca­tion, Robin­son said.

‘‘It’s had well over 1.3 mil­lion [views].’’

Robin­son said gay and bi­sex­ual men had been early adopters of on­line dat­ing sites, in part due to the anonymity of­fered.

‘‘If you’re living in a con­text of ho­mo­pho­bia, then anonymity has its ad­van­tages for peo­ple,’’ he said.

Robin­son in­sisted the foun­da­tion’s ap­proach and the con­tent cho­sen to ap­pear on the Love Your Con­dom web­site wasn’t based on a hunch or guess­work.

‘‘This was based on re­search which showed that gay men re­spond to ex­plicit on­line mes­sages and are much more likely to ab­sorb the in­for­ma­tion from that form of mes­sag­ing.’’

to

them,’’

He said the foun­da­tion had re­ceived a very pos­i­tive re­sponse to the cam­paign.

‘‘We’ve had peo­ple say­ing they wished there was some­thing like that around when they were younger.’’

Oneis­sue for the foun­da­tion was just how old the young men tar­geted were, be­fore set­tling on R16 and R18 warn­ings for some of the web­site’s con­tent.

‘‘We are very re­spon­si­ble about that and we cer­tainly worked through the whole process of de­vel­op­ing this video with the Min­istry of Health who are our pri­mary fun­der,’’ Robin­son said

‘‘We feel we’ve done ev­ery­thing that is re­spon­si­ble to try and make sure that it’s ac­ces­si­ble to a young au­di­ence, 18 and over, but we have clearly set up warn­ings so that no-one is go­ing to stum­ble across it and be of­fended.’’

With HIV in New Zealand at one of the world’s low­est lev­els, with fewer than 2500 di­ag­nosed pa­tients in the coun­try, there was a real need to keep con­dom use up.

Since the be­gin­ning of the cam­paign, nearly three mil­lion free con­doms had been dis­trib­uted, with year-on-year in­creases in de­mand for free rub­bers.

‘‘The de­mand for con­doms has clearly been stim­u­lated by the work that we’re do­ing and that’s got to be a good thing,’’ Robin­son said.

The AIDS Foun­da­tion’s Shaun Robin­son is proud of the progress the Get It On cam­paign has made.

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