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Salut! Compagnie Helvetia (CH) 14 May 2006

Posted by marisacat in Europe, Sex / Reproductive Health, Switzerland.

 Via the BBC comes news of the latest of the Swiss campaigns against HIV/AIDS (English version).

                        Swiss AIDS poster

A new public health campaign in Switzerland is raising eyebrows.

The campaign, from the Federal Health Office's Aids prevention section, features fencers and ice hockey players enthusiastically pursuing their sport.

But there is one unexpected difference – all the players are stark naked.

The contrast of healthy flesh and sharp blades is supposed to hammer home the message "no action without protection".

The campaign is now running on television, in cinemas and on billboards around the country.

The advertisements are certainly attracting attention, and that is exactly what the Federal Health Office wants.

They have been clever, eye catching and non-judgemental in the past too:

A few years ago the health office focused on adultery, telling those who were tempted to stray from their long-term partners that infidelity must always be accompanied by a condom.

 They have had for several years a border campaign (English version), rather different from ours!, but a border campaign to publicise condoms as people enter the country.

  Get this, one plea – as a border poster, asks clergy to dispense with religious belief and at least talk about condoms. 

(As I am typing this C-Span has a clip of McCain in suck-up mode at Liberty Whatever with Falwell.  Little hope for America any time soon.  McCain goes to Falwell, Howard goes to Robertson's hang out.  Fools.)

Further, all of this was critically necessary to stem what was an early problem of significantly high rates of infection:

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Swiss had the highest HIV infection rate in Europe, partly because of high intravenous drug use, and partly because the wealthy Swiss were frequent travellers in countries where Aids was already well-established.

The prevention campaigns, together with a vigorous policy of needle exchange and even heroin prescription for long-term drug users, have brought the infection rate down.

 Sanity.  It is within reach.  If you use your brain.  Which the Swiss identify as an important part of arousal.  They ask that you keep on using it.  But add a condom.

Very practical people.



1. Madman in the Marketplace - 14 May 2006

wow, sane grownups informing other grownups!

Wonder what that is like.

2. Sub-commandante Franzisco - 14 May 2006

-Angry White Male God

That first photo makes me wince just thinking about it…

3. JJB - 14 May 2006

Both the hockey and fencing spots currently have very positive ratings, but the latter is significantly more popular. Which suggests more straight men and lesbians are voting, or pictures of naked women are more popular than pictures of naked men, or the men should should actually show some naughty parts – they’re obviously naked, but you don’t really see anything, not so with the ladies.

BTW, there should be a “don’t try this at home” caveat on the fencing picture, I’ve studied fencing and doing it naked is a really bad idea, expecially for men. 🙂

For all of that, yes, it’s refreshing to see that some societies are willing to encounter serious problems in a realistic and effective manner. Here, we legitimize that which should be fiercely opposed by anyone with a lick of common sense.

BTW, you think a website that forthrightly sponsored a cream pie fight ad would run this sort of PSA, even if they were paid to?

4. marisacat - 14 May 2006


well I don’t know aht it means but the fencing poster in terms of layout was more eye pleasing to me.

The Hockey ad just did not grab me.

The fencing ad made it to the piece as the shot from the BBC was usable.. and the image code from the Swiss sites did not work. Forwathever reason, not that i know much… LOL

Frankly I love the bright yellow posters…

The Swiss, for all their public circumspection from a certain bourgeois strata, have always advertised the most seductive women’s lingerie and underwear. In the windows of the hosiery shops. I mean as a young girl I was in them to buy nylons, but the windows were full of peek-a-boo under wear…

It was always more eye catching in winter too. Drifts of snow and tiny bits of bright red underwear in the windows of the hose shops.

5. JJB - 14 May 2006

Having made a stab at both sports, fencing is definitely more fun as a participant. And it’s much closer to ballet in terms of physical aesthetics. Still, I have to applaud everybody involved in this campaign. They deserve a great deal of credit. I wished I lived in a society where something like this were done, rather than one where a politician like John McCain betrays one of his very few admirable traits by publicly abasing himself to Jerry Falwell in the hopes of getting the GOP nomination two years hence.

6. marisacat - 14 May 2006

I took fencing off an on for several years… LOL. I want all the padding and the mesh mask too. If the epee is not rubber!… the first were a sort of stiffened rubber as recall.

Oh yes very smart campaign. Unlike America, they want to live. We have a Death Culture. no question!!

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