Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

For Better or For Worse?

June 24th, 2010 by

An advertising campaign that encourages young Hawaiians to get tested for HIV/AIDS in conjunction with this Sunday’s National HIV Testing Day is utilizing tattoos as a way to get the message across.  The Life Foundation recently held an event in Honolulu in which photos of people tattooed with the message “Get Real, Get Tested.” were on display.  The tattoos are of course, all fake, but many people at the Life Foundation sponsored event still took advantage of the Get Real, Get Tested spray on tattoos that were offered.  Apparently HIV/AIDS patients count for over 3,000 people in Hawaii.

“This says something, it says something to the person who sees it, it says get tested, get tested for what? Get tested for HIV/AIDS, don’t you want to find out?” Life Foundation executive director Paul Groesbeck said.”

When I first saw this, I thought it was a pretty good way to get the message out to the main demographic that the foundation is trying to reach: Hawaiians aged 25 years and younger.  Tattoos are very popular and people take notice when they see tattoos (especially of the typographical variety).  Obviously HIV/AIDS is a problem in Hawaii and if this can encourage responsibility and prevention in people, then yeah, I’m all for it.

However. The entire thing does give me a bit of a slightly uneasy feeling.  Maybe I’m being hyper critical here, but I don’t know if tattooing really needs to be associated with an HIV/AIDS campaign.  I think it can potentially (and completely unintentionally) send out the wrong message.  I don’t know, I can totally see where the Life Foundation is coming from with this campaign, but at a quick glance, I think it would be easy for someone to assume that the campaign is suggesting that if you’ve been tattooed you should get tested for HIV/AIDS.  Or am I looking into all this a little too much?

Check out the full news article and video here.

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