Australia’s peak HIV body has launched a new HIV prevention campaign.

The Fear Less Live More campaign, developed by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), aims to encourage gay men to communicate more openly about HIV in sexual settings.

AFAO executive director Rob Lake said he believes the national campaign is well targeted.

“This new campaign is based on some very sound, original and eye-opening research into how HIV stigma is expressed and experienced among gay men in Australia,” Lake said.

“[It] addresses some of the fears that underlie it, from the perspective of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men.

“In this way it takes a non-judgemental approach to the issue, and aims to work on the elements that contribute to stigma, rather than a moralistic approach.”

Recent research has shown up to half of HIV-negative men say they refuse to have sex with someone they know is HIV-positive.

AFAO said this can create an environment where HIV-positive men find it difficult to disclose their status because of fears of an adverse reaction and it may also lead to gay men being hesitant to get tested for HIV.

The campaign will cover five areas — communicating HIV status, choosing casual sex partners, acknowledging concerns about HIV, negotiating serodiscordant relationships, and overcoming fear of rejection.

Fear Less Live More will be promoted nationally through posters, newspaper advertisements, postcards and web banners on gay networking sites.

The campaign was launched on World AIDS Day last week.


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