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October 2014

Poster jpeg
A poster from the Everything old is new again campaign.

Awareness campaign calls on the past

Living Positive Victoria has launched a syphilis awareness campaign aimed at HIV-positive gay men aged between 40 and 60.

The Everything old is new again campaign follows close work by Living Positive Victoria with the Department of Health, Victorian AIDS Council and the Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic with help from the community.

‘Syphilis rates have been increasing quite rapidly over the past two years,’ said Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic Director Christopher Fairley.

‘This may be because of delays in diagnosis or treatment which increase the chances of onward transmission.

‘It is important that individuals at risk of syphilis have frequent sexual health check-ups and present as early as possible if any symptoms develop,’ Professor Fairley said.

The campaign posters and postcards use images from U.S. syphilis campaigns of the 1930s and 1940s, re-purposed with updated text to engage and prompt individuals and doctors.

The slogan is a tongue-in-cheek reminder that syphilis might be seen by some as an ‘old’ disease.

But after a period of relatively low notifications, the rising rates of infection are certainly a ‘new’ challenge.

‘Everything old is new again uses striking imagery from a time and place when syphilis rates were a pressing public health concern and a strong message needed to be communicated,’ said Living Positive Victoria Executive Officer Brent Allan.

‘We’re also at a time in notifications where we need to get a strong awareness message out there so that, hopefully, with more people getting tested and treated, we will see a decrease in notifications over time.’

Syphilis can often go undetected, with few or no symptoms, so regular testing is vital to diagnose syphilis infection.

Living Positive Victoria is a not for profit, community-based organisation representing all people living with HIV in Victoria since 1988 and is committed to the advancement of human rights and wellbeing of all people living with HIV.