Why is a campaign against HIV generating so much controversy in Chile?

SANTIAGO – The Chilean Ministry of Health released on the last day of 2018 a video, part of a nationwide campaign against HIV. The numbers of new HIV victims in Chile are among the highest in the world, so government measures are more urgent than ever. But this new video was received with criticism. Why?

It took the Ministry of Health only a few minutes to generate a storm of controversy on Twitter, after releasing an anti-HIV video as part of the nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the staggering numbers of HIV-cases in the country.

The video shows the faces of various men and women, in a dark scenery looking straight into the camera. A tense background music accompanies the text that says: “One of these people can have HIV. And you have 10 seconds to discover it. But it is impossible to know. Because the only way is to get tested. Take the exam. Take care of your body. Use a condom. Take care of your life and that of others.”

“The campaign lacks a focus on human rights”

The video received a lot of criticism, for example from the Fundación Iguales, an equal rights foundation that took to Twitter to respond to the video. They wrote: “This campaign is a mistake. It poses HIV as an intrigue, something suspicious that must be unveiled. This perspective is contrary to the human rights approach that a campaign on HIV / AIDS should have. Stigmatizing HIV-positive people is not the way”.

Other followers on Twitter write that “the campaign feels like a persecution”, while one person describes the video as “embarrassing”.

In an interview with CNN Chile, the president of Fundación Iguales, Juan Enrique Pi, said he believes the video lacks a focus on human rights. “HIV-patients feel already very discriminated against in Chile and they don´t need the government to treat them as something suspicious. That is the entire mistake within this campaign”.

Last year, CT´s Anthony Hill made the following report on HIV patients in Chile:

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