Benetton’s launch of an advertising campaign based around images of the human body tattooed with the words “HIV-positive”.
The French Agency for the Fight against AIDS (AFLS) and the National AIDS Council wish to protest against such images, designed as they are to cause emotional shock in the public by offering a reminder, in relation to HIV-positive individuals and the general public, of the means used in the past to symbolize racial stigma.
Conscious of the deliberate manipulation embodied in this campaign, both AFLS and NAC wish to denounce the commercial exploitation of suffering and illness masquerading as the provision of information, and the violence done thereby to infected individuals and those around them.
AFLS and NAC wish to express indignation at the use of an approach which, in order to denounce discriminatory practices, in fact highlights them by stigmatizing sufferers.
The use of the tattoo as symbol, reawakening in the collective psyche memories of nazi practices, adds humiliation to stigmatization.
For these reasons, AFLS has decided to bring the matter before the courts.
Note : In a press release dated September 15, 1993, Sida Info Service points to a large number of calls from the public protesting against this campaign. Callers expressed strong reactions of indignation, incomprehension and concern.