Get it On!
2010 saw the highest ever rate of HIV diagnoses amongst the gay and bisexual male population of New Zealand. HIV is no longer as visible as it once was, leading to a level of complacency amongst those at risk. The environment produced a significant challenge for the NZ AIDS Foundation (NZAF), which needed to re-engage gay and bisexual men in a new manner in order to deliver messaging that would promote condom use, encourage changes in risk-taking behavior and, ultimately, reduce HIV transmission.
We identified a need to re-ignite dialogue amongst gay and bisexual men around using condoms for sex every time. Rather than seeking to change behaviors, we looked to create new ones by developing a "talk sex with" rather than "talk condom to" communications strategy that placed the focus on celebrating sex, instead of attempting to urge adoption through fear.
We came up with a playful and provocative approach to the Get it On! awareness and prevention campaign that involved applying temporary tattoos to the torsos of gay men who volunteered to sport them. Representing permanence, the tattoos conveyed clear pro-condom messages and suggested the importance of making a personal and permanent commitment to wearing a condom. While the tattoos featured a different pro-condom statement for each design, the “Love Your Condom” tagline was consistently incorporated into every design. Colorful and attention grabbing, the messages sparked conversations and, according to Get it On! spokesperson, Joe Rich, “encouraged gay and bisexual men to take it to the next level and join an inclusive movement that celebrates great sex with condoms.” Targeting gay venues, clubs, online and mobile dating sites, and the country’s annual gay festival, the Get it On! campaign was well-received by the gay community and made a real impact
Figures officially released in February 2012 for 2011 showed a reduction of over 33% in HIV diagnosis in gay and bisexual men from the previous year – the lowest number since 2002. The NZAF also noted a 14% increase of HIV testing at NZAF clinics in 2011. Michael Sidibé (Executive Director of UNAIDS) and Helen Clark (Head of the United Nations Development Programme) praised the work of NZAF remarking that New Zealand has set a new standard for HIV prevention programs targeting gay and bisexual male communities. Following the success of the tattoo campaign, “Love Your Condom” has been re-launched for 2012.