Friday, August 12, 2005

Venezuela: $1M for HIV Awareness (but what about the gays?)

Caracas Pride - July 3, 2005 (courtesy of Santiago Farias) Posted by Picasa

So today I find an article ("An Ounce of Prevention, Aimed at Women and Youth" - IPS, August 12, 2005) that says that the Venezuelan government has decided to launch an initiative to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in two specific communities: Women and youth.

Most of the almost $1M dollar budget will go to broadcast 6 television ads with the theme "AIDS can reach you" and to provide free distribution of condoms on a national basis. This is all great and dandy but I wonder if there are similarly budgeted campaigns already targeting the largest community affected by HIV/AIDS in Venezuela: Gay men [I have asked several LGBT activists in venezuela and will post a response if it comes].

Or could it be that producing gay-themed HIV prevention campaigns for television goes against the 'Radio and Television Social Responsibility Law' which President Hugo Chavez signed establishing penalties for broadcasts containing depictions and sounds of violent or offensive sexual practices, among other no-no's? The Law itself does not mention homosexuality explicitly but, in a television interview transcribed in, he addresses issues raised by the legislation by stating: "How is someone like you going to transmit sex scenes during youth programming hours. Or scenes of violence. Movies that champion drug use, homosexuality, those things that are very human, but which are characteristic of the lowest [type of] humanity?"

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