New Zealand’s six safe-sex poster boys are coming to Sydney for Mardi Gras.
Roger Moore, Josh Chapman, Christopher Olwage, Scott McDonald, Munaam and Liam Moir were chosen by public vote to front the New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s new safe-sex campaign.
They will march in this year’s ACON float before enjoying all that Sydney has to offer.
NZAF spokesman Chris Banks said the visit was a reward for the men who had volunteered a lot of time to promote the safe-sex message in New Zealand.
“The boys are ambassadors for safe sex wherever they go – our communities responded to the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the 80s and 90s by taking collective responsibility for encouraging condom use.
“One of the ideas behind Safe-Sex Poster Boy was encouraging gay and bisexual men to talk about condom use again with their peers, to make the issue a priority again.”
The boys will be followed by a throng of New Zealand media, keen to capture not only the colour and movement of the parade, but the journey the poster boys have while visiting town.
Banks said the campaign and the models were unique for two reasons.
“Firstly, they’ve been elected by gay and bisexual men’s communities in New Zealand, representing easily recognisable gay archetypes such as party boy, bear, sportsman, boy next door.
“We ran a three-month-long, nationwide competition in gay venues and online to find these six boys. We had over 85 entries in the first stage of the competition.
“Secondly, they’re models with a personal message. Each of the boys has his own personal reasons for using condoms, which are talked about in the campaign.
“It’s about recognising that there are many valid reasons for practising safe sex, and encouraging discussion among our peers about that.”
Roger Moore, 41, winner of the Bear/Leather category, represents an age group which currently has the highest rate of HIV diagnoses of infection within New Zealand.
“I still get asked to have unsafe sex, and it’s just a total ‘no’ for me – why play around with your life?” Moore asks. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of guys in my age group who seem to want to dice with their health and not use condoms.”