ACT Campaign Archives: Collected Visual Strategies from 1983 to present

ACT has a history of developing bold and innovative campaigns to generate awareness, rouse people into action, overcome ignorance about HIV transmission and encourage HIV prevention. Over the years our campaigns have drawn attention, controversy and earned respect. And, with every campaign there is the hope that it will be a catalyst for behaviour-change, provide new information, and enhance overall understanding about the complex issues of living with and preventing HIV and AIDS. These campaigns have also helped to enhance ACT's profile and reputation in the HIV/AIDS sector and among the communities we serve.


Using language that people can understand. Being sex positive. The first pamphlets and workshops explained what "Safe Sex" meant (they quickly realized "Safer Sex" was more realistic and gave people choices). One pamphlet had the word "No" struck out and underneath it, the word "Know" was bolded and underlined. The strategy was to reach gay men in the bars. Later outreach expanded to bathhouses and the parks.


A Little Less Latex
Other campaigns created a stir too - within the gay or lesbian communities. In 1992, Lesli Gaynor and Rhonda Hackett produced a campaign advocating the decreased use of dental dams in lesbian sex. The "A little less latex” campaign had some lesbians up in arms. They accused ACT of endangering women's lives. But evidence showed the risk of transmission through oral sex was minimal and ACT stood firm.


The Safer Sex Generation
ACT's strength is that it hasn't been afraid to adapt. Gay men who came out in the 1970's were used to talking explicitly about sex, but they discovered that explicit images and language were alienating younger men. So they designed the Safer Sex Generation campaign targeting those men.


Welcome to Condom Country


Attack of the Cursed Syphilis
In response to a request from ACT, Toronto Public Health and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provided funding to roll out a new multifaceted awareness campaign in print, online and in gay community venues. Featuring illustrations and graphics reminiscent of advertisements for campy 1950s horror films, "Attack of the Cursed Syphilis" launched in January 2010 in response to rising infections among gay and bisexual men in Toronto.


Stronger Together
Gay men have been made the subject of many studies, surveys, reports, projects, and theses. Most often, it's the negative things about us that have been highlighted, rather than the positive things. Wouldn't it be nice if, as an example, researchers chose to study those factors - things like having a strong social support network - that assist gay men in practicing safer sex, or we spoke more about the assets that we have as gay men, rather than only focussing on those things that are seen as deficits?


PEP Can Stop You From Getting HIV