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56 Dean Street community campaign winner announced

03 October 2012

The winner of a competition launched by 56 Dean Street, the Trust's HIV and sexual health centre in Soho, to offer members of the gay community the chance to design an innovative HIV awareness campaign aimed at gay and bisexual men has been announced.

The winner of a competition launched by 56 Dean Street, the Trust's HIV and sexual health centre in Soho, to offer members of the gay community the chance to design an innovative HIV awareness campaign aimed at gay and bisexual men has been announced.

Ryan Arya's eye-catching image (right) was chosen by judges of The Community Campaign which invited people to submit their ideas for an innovative advertising campaign that will make an impact in reducing rates of HIV infection or increasing education about sexual health.

Stephen Fry launched the competition in June. He said: "With one in seven gay men on the London scene now living with HIV, it's never been more important to develop new ways to reach and engage people with a safe sex message."

Competition winner Ryan (left) says: "HIV is a virus I was conscious and afraid of as a teenager. My fear has decreased over the years as I have learned a great deal about it and the medication available.

"It was always an aim of mine to work on an awareness advertising campaign, which is why I put my heart and soul into this competition."

Ryan explains the concept behind his winning competition entry. "The idea behind the campaign is to convey ordinary life with a sinister undertone. The electric chair is used as a metaphor to represent the unknown HIV status, the emphasis here is that it's the unknown that is the real danger.

"However, there is a lighter tone to the campaign as it clearly states that early diagnosis can lead to a near-normal life expectancy. This is a shock tactic advertising approach that will hopefully emphasise the importance in knowing not only your status, but also the status of the people you are sleeping with."

Dr Alan McOwan, Service Director at 56 Dean Street, says: "We wanted to create a voice for the gay community to actively design, vote on and react to their own advertising because, if we can all get involved, together we can make a difference."

Ryan Arya's concept is being professionally designed and should hit the newsstands this month.