Getting Personal

How do you talk to young people about sexually transmitted diseases without sounding too preachy?
That was the question facing Matthaeus Halverson Ayriss when it agreed to develop a pro bono HIV/STD awareness campaign for the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health.
The Bellevue, Wash.-based agency chose to mix humor with the honest, unpleasant and typically unspoken realities of living with such diseases.
The campaign features personal ads written from an unusual perspective–diseases seeking partners.
One ad reads, “Looking for a lifetime lover to share fatigue, coughing fits, fever, weight loss, swollen glands, diarrhea, loss of breath, and eventually pneumonia or cancer. But hey–let’s not rush things. Maybe I’ll just stay quiet for a while and let you think I’m not around . . .
I go by HIV.”
The ads, which list a hotline number, have been placed in newspapers and on buses. In addition, posters have been put up in nightclub rest rooms. –Angela Dawson