Health department defends ‘pro-prostitution’ billboards

“I like to give my clients pleasure, not HIV” reads the message on the billboard on Voortrekker Road. Pic: Krugersdorp News

“I like to give my clients pleasure, not HIV” reads the message on the billboard on Voortrekker Road. Pic: Krugersdorp News

The department of health has defended an awareness campaign whose billboards feature messages that appear to endorse sex work.

The billboard, situated on Voortrekker Road, in the West Rand town, and several other locations around Gauteng reads: “I like to give my clients pleasure, not HIV.”

Zameka Kubeka from the Gauteng department of education in Krugersdorp said the billboard, which is one of many, forms part of a national campaign called Prevent, Avoid, Stop, Overcome and Protect (Pasop), in which the department aims to get residents talking about health issues, Krugersdorp News reported.

“People prefer to receive information on the television, radio and billboards nowadays,” said Kubeka.

According to her, the idea behind these in-your-face billboards was to elevate the same dull message to a level of instant wide appeal by discussing real issues that arise in communities.

The wording used in several of these Pasop campaigns are comments the department taken while interacting with the community, Kubeka added.

Zameka Kubeka representing the Gauteng Department of Health in Krugersdorp. Pic: Krugersdorp News

Zameka Kubeka representing the Gauteng Department of Health in Krugersdorp. Pic: Krugersdorp News

According to a statement issued by the department, the campaign aims to positively influence people’s behavior and attitude about HIV/Aids and Tuberculosis diseases (TB).

“The strategy prioritises key populations and vulnerable groups such as sex workers, the Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/ Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community, women and youth, which the department has noted the risk of infection is higher in general,” the statement reads.

According to Kubeka, the West Rand is a high infection area, especially between the ages of 15 and 29 years, and the billboard, with the campaign, are meant to help reduce the infection rate.

“When we have people talking about the billboards we are spreading the word of safe sex,” Kubeka concluded.

– Caxton News Service

 

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