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November 2005
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Offensive Ad

DARE Generation Diary pointed out this outrageous TV ad…

u hear bout kim?
what bout kim?
she has HIV
she got high
she got stupid
she has HIV

use ur brain.
keep ur body healthy.
b drug free.

hiv.drugabuse.gov
World AIDS Day, December 1

The implication? Smoking pot leads to HIV. Of course, this is stupid on the surface since the likelihood of “getting stupid” (and thus having unprotected sex, thereby getting HIV) is not very likely to be stimulated by pot use.
On a deeper level, this ad is seriously offensive, since, while the documented incidents of people getting HIV from smoking pot have to be about nil, there is a verified epidemic of HIV as a result of needle sharing, and this same government has obstructed and opposed needle-exchange programs which have been proven to save lives and limit the spread of HIV.
In fact, the whole notion of a website with the address hiv.drugabuse.gov is offensive. Even more so is the fact that there is not a single mention on that site of HIV contracted through needles (and of course, no mention of needle exchange or harm reduction programs).
Correction: bcoherent points out that the ad does not seem to implicate pot, but rather some unspecified pills (I should have watched it closer instead of so quickly getting upset by the message). That reduces my surface objection to the ad (the pot issue), and I’m all for people not “getting stupid” at parties, but it doesn’t change the offensiveness of a campaign that projects hiv fear onto unspecified drug use, while ignoring what the government has done to block harm reduction efforts (sexual and drug related) that would reduce the spread of hiv.

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