Sexually suggestive posters of fruit, vegetables and shells have appeared all over Switzerland as part of a new Aids prevention campaign.This content was published on February 5, 2002 - 14:47
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The Federal Office of Public Health and the Stop Aids Campaign launched the witty posters, designed to trigger the public's imagination about the risks of contracting the virus that causes Aids, on Tuesday.
The campaign is also linked to a coming exhibition at the Expo.02 in Yverdon-les-Bains entitled "The first encounter". Expo.02, which opens in May and runs for six months, is Switzerland's largest cultural exhibition.
According to exhibition organisers, the theme focuses on what happens between people when they first meet, as the first "fizz" of excitement grips and the potential for sexual contact becomes real.
Focus on sexuality
Thomas Zeltner, director of the Federal Office of Public Health, described the multi-media exhibition as a "teaching experiment".
"This exhibition wants to talk about sexuality and the attraction between different sexes, but also how animals are attracted to each other and what senses are involved," Zeltner told swissinfo.
"By doing that, we start to reflect on how our sexuality is constructed," he said.
"In the exhibition itself, it is only at the very end when people get out of the exhibition that there will be a reminder that sexuality, these days, needs to be linked to diseases."
Last year's dramatic eight per cent jump in HIV infections, the first increase since 1992, has underscored the ongoing need for Aids awareness.
Apathy and a growing misconception that Aids can be cured are blamed for some of the increase.
"We cannot lose momentum in Aids prevention, even in Switzerland," Zeltner said.
"We see it in three different settings. First of all... the biggest part is heterosexuals - men having sex with women - who account for the increased numbers," he said.
Another problem is a slight decrease in the use of condoms among very young homosexuals, "and we have a slight increase in new infections among drug users," Zeltner said.
The poster campaign with its "double meanings" would be welcomed by the Swiss public, which is "really open-minded, in general," he said.
"Once you see the billboards, you will certainly see there is a lot of humour in it," he said.
"It actually shows vegetables, fruits and shells, very organic material, which in the minds and the eyes of adults evokes sexual thinking."
Zeltner said the posters would be placed where people at risk would see them.
"What we are doing is really increasing our efforts at spots where sex really happens.
"This is in parks where young people met other people or prostitutes, and secondly in pubs and clubs ... because we realise that it is still needed."
The successful Stop Aids street-poster campaign - now in its fourth year - is a joint venture among the government, Swiss Aids Help and the Swiss Poster Association.
by Jacob Greber and Vanessa Mock
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