Ending HIV, a community-focused behaviour change programme run by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF), has launched a campaign encouraging gay man to drop their load.
The campaign aims to communicate the message that people living with HIV, who have an undetectable viral load for more than six months, cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners – even if condoms are not used.
The ad aims to support the global U=U movement, which declares that Undetectable = Untransmittable. An undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in a person’s blood is no longer able to be detected by a standard blood test.
Michael Shaw, marketing manager for Ending HIV, said, "Evidence has been mounting for a long time now and with every new study saying the same thing, we made the decision to make this statement.
"People are still using 'unsafe' as a synonym for 'condomless'. That needs to change. We feel proud to tell New Zealanders that dropping their load has never been so risk- free."
The campaign features two men arriving home in the back of a taxi, when one says tells the other they need to have “one of those chats” before they go inside.
The campaign is running nationally with digital activity on Grindr, radio advertising and OOH activity.
The campaign aims to ensure a better understanding of the experiences of the 3500 New Zealanders living with HIV and to remove the stigmas these individuals face within the community.
A 2014 study found that only 7% of New Zealanders would be prepared to have a sexual relationship with someone living with HIV, while just 45% would be willing to eat food prepared by an HIV positive person.