German HIV advert uses Hitler lookalike

Adolf Hitler in 1939

A German HIV prevention ad uses the images of famous dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein to support the message: “AIDS is a mass murderer”.

The ads, designed to shock and frighten, show a straight couple returning home and tearing off each other’s clothes off.

The graphic video then shows them having sex and at the end, the man is revealed as Hitler.

Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein feature in posters which accompany the video, by German AIDS charity Regenbogen e.V.

However, the ad was attacked by HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, which said it could stigmatise people with the disease.

Policy officer Vicky Sheard told BBC News: “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 [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.”

This was echoed by the National AIDS Trust. A spokeswoman said: “Of course there are many HIV organisations that run their own campaigns, however I think the advert is incredibly stigmatising to people living with HIV who already face much stigma and discrimination due to ignorance about the virus.”

Dirk Silz, creative director of Das Comitee, which made the ad, told AFP news agency: “We asked ourselves what face we could give to the virus, and it couldn’t be a pretty face.

“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.”

To watch the video, scroll down. Warning: Contains graphic sex scenes.