Posters promoting a HIV testing campaign have been vandalized at a Sydney, Australia bus stop.
Prominent LGBTI advocate, Chris Pycroft, spotted the defaced posters on Flinders St in Surry Hills. That area is close to Oxford St, a world famous LGBTI district.
Graffiti on the posters of read ‘fuck fags’ and ‘you have AIDS’.
‘It’s disappointing to see this kind of vandalism, particularly somewhere so close to a recognized safe space for LGBTI people,’ Pycroft told Gay Star News.
‘It’s an unfortunate reminder of how much work lies ahead in removing stigma around HIV.’
ACON, one of Australia’s leading LGBTI and HIV health organization, are responsible for the posters and HIV testing awareness campaign.
Its CEO told Gay Star News that it has noticed a ‘growing number of cases where a person’s HIV status, sexuality or gender identity are used by ignorant people as a weapon, a slur, or a threat’.
‘Sadly, this is just the most recent case to appear in Sydney,’ said ACON CEO, Nicolas Parkhill.
‘This is an ignorant, offensive and deplorable act, highlighting how far we have to go in tackling homophobia and HIV stigma.
‘Actions such as these steel our resolve to keep doing the work that we do, and fighting for an Australia that is inclusive and safe.
‘We will continue to deliver health education campaigns for our communities that build on, and reflect, their strength and resilience.
‘They deserve nothing less.’
The vandals struck just days before the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. New South Wales – the state of which Sydney is the capital – saw a 40% drop of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) between July and September 2018. That’s a drop compared to the five-year average of the previous quarter.