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Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 19:30 UK

Romping Hitler Aids ad criticised

HIV
Thousands of people around the world die every day from AIDS

A graphic Aids-awareness TV advert which features an Adolf Hitler lookalike having sex has been condemned by HIV charities.

It will be shown on German TV next week ahead of World Aids Day in December.

The German charity behind the film says Aids has killed 30 million people worldwide, and it wants to shake people up by linking Aids with mass murder.

But other organisations said it could be Aids sufferers, not the disease itself, who are associated with Hitler.

The steamy advert shows a couple having sex, but it is only at the end that the man is revealed as the German dictator.

A tagline then reads: "Aids is a mass murderer."

'Insensitive'

The campaign, which also features mocked-up posters of Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein having sex with naked women, was organised with Aids-awareness group Regenbogen e.V.

We asked ourselves what face we could give to the virus, and it couldn't be a pretty face
Dirk Silz
Das Comitee advertising agency

But UK-based HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust says it is concerned the advert could be "insensitive", by stigmatising people with the condition.

Vicky Sheard, the organisation's policy officer, told the BBC News website: "One in four people in the UK with HIV doesn't know he or she has it, so anything that could increase stigmatisation and discourage them from coming forward to be tested isn't helpful.

"The dangerous thing about it [the advert] is there doesn't appear to be any accompanying public health message as far as encouraging people to stay safe and use condoms.

"Also, treatment in Europe these days means it's very possible for people with HIV to live a healthy lifespan."

The Hamburg-based Das Comitee advertising agency, which made the film, said it was designed to shock people into avoiding sex without contraception.

"We asked ourselves what face we could give to the virus, and it couldn't be a pretty face," Dirk Silz, creative director of Das Comitee, told AFP news agency.

"The campaign is designed to shake people up, to bring the topic of Aids back to centre stage, and to reverse the trend of unprotected sexual intercourse."



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