01.11.2012 Say it any way you like, but just say it
"LOVE LIFE" campaign 2012/13. On 12 October 2012, the Federal Office of Public Health and its partner organisations launched the 2012/13 "LOVE LIFE" campaign. Its aim is to create a climate that makes it easier for people to inform a sex partner that they have a sexually transmitted disease.
The new campaign has been launched by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Swiss AIDS Federation and the SGS (Sexual Health Switzerland) Foundation.
For the first time, the main focus of the "LOVE LIFE" campaign is on people informing a sex partner that they have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Using slogans such as "You can't hide it for ever …"and "Say it any way you like, but just say it …", the campaign calls on people with an STI to talk to their sex partners about the diagnosis.
Whether by Morse code or thought transference – the main thing is to inform partners
The campaign demonstrates that there are countless opportunities for and ways of informing one's sex partners of an STI. The TV commercials "Schattentheater" (Shadow theatre), "Telepathie" (Telepathy) and "Morsen" (Messaging by Morse code) present imaginative variants of how to inform partners. The public transport and small-format posters show how the topic can be addressed humorously and inventively by using ambiguous circumlocutions or double entendres. The main message of the campaign is: "Say it any way you like, but just say it …". Further tips on broaching the subject with a sex partner can be found on the campaign website, www.check-your-lovelife.ch, which also suggests alternative ways of conveying the information if a one-on-one conversation is not possible. Further campaign measures include online banners, interactive banners, a competition, and cards for free.
Thanks to 25 years of information campaigns, HIV and AIDS are now topics that can be freely discussed. Last year, other sexually transmitted diseases featured in the public campaign for the first time. This included adding a third rule to the two existing rules of safer sex: "If you experience itchiness, stinging or discharge, go and see the doctor." This rule extended the campaign's reach to people who had symptoms of sexually transmitted disease and obviously needed to see a doctor. Not infrequently, however, such diseases can be symptom-free and therefore go undiagnosed. An infected individual can therefore transmit the disease to their partner without him or her becoming aware of it for a long time. This can have serious consequences for health: even a symptom-free infection can cause damage and be passed on to others. With its appeal to inform sex partners of any STI, the 2012 campaign is targeting precisely this problem: if people are informed that their sex partner has an STI, they know they have to be examined and, if necessary, treated, which in turn means informing any new sex partners they may have.
Older adults as target group
The study of "Health Behavior in School-Age Children" (HBSC) shows that adolescents and young adults achieve a rather good level of protection against sexually transmitted diseases by using condoms. But older people often underestimate the risk of infection and fail to protect themselves adequately. They are therefore a key target group of this year's campaign. Also a target group are professionals who provide advice on the topic and make the diagnoses.
25 years of HIV and AIDS prevention
The FOPH created the "STOP AIDS" campaign 25 years ago. Every year since then, it has drawn public attention to the topic by focusing on new aspects of the problem. The campaign messages have always been adapted to prevailing social attitudes and the latest scientific findings. The campaign has thus evolved from STOP AIDS (1987–2004) and LOVE LIFE STOP AIDS (2005–10) to today's LOVE LIFE (since 2011). Originally focusing exclusively on HIV/AIDS, it now addresses all sexually transmitted diseases.
Switzerland is the only country that, every single year since 1987, has run public information campaigns dealing with HIV/AIDS and evoking the rules of safer sex: 1. Always use condoms when having penetrative sex, 2. Do not let blood or semen get into your mouth, 3. If you experience itchiness, stinging or discharge, go and see the doctor.
Norina Schwendener, Campaigns Section, firstname.lastname@example.org