A new Queensland government HIV ad campaign featuring the Grim Reaper used during notorious AIDS awareness campaigns in the 1980s, has been labelled “a missed opportunity” by the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC).

While the new ‘Make HIV History’ campaign by the government doesn’t heavily feature death, focusing more on the people living with HIV, QAHC executive director Paul Martin expressed concern about the ads.

“While we welcome increased public attention to HIV, this is a missed opportunity the update people on the reality of living with HIV today,” Martin said.

“It is also a missed opportunity to encourage people who may be at risk to come forward for testing and treatment and to inform and remind people how to prevent transmission of HIV.”

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg defended the new ads, saying that all Queenslanders needed to be addressed.

“We needed a campaign that would reach everybody,” he said.

“These advertisements show that lives are affected and… through a fleeting appearance of the iconic Grim Reaper… the threat of HIV/AIDS did not go away after the last campaign ended.”

Local LGBTI community member Paul Kidd released his own version of the new commercial on YouTube supporting QAHC, titled ‘Lawrence Springborg Shouldn’t Be Making This Ad’.

Both videos can be seen below:

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