Aids: Danger To Everyone Essay

1264 words - 5 pages

Advertisements are known for promoting products to consumers but another effective purpose is to raise awareness. These kind of advertisements often include topics that play on people's fears, such as diseases, which include secondhand smoking, sexual harassment, and cancer. Even though these fears affect many people, one that has expanded over the past few decades and continued to do so is AIDs. This disease had spread worldwide throughout the human population and became a pandemic. A health organization from France, a French anti-AIDS organization called AIDES, created a controversial ad that featured Superman with AIDs. He is dressed in his famous costume sitting on a hospital bed breathing through an oxygen mask connected to an IV tube. The French advertisement extinguishes stereotypes about people infected with AIDs, and at the same time, promotes awareness of this deadly disease.
The history of AIDs has changed greatly throughout the decades to prove that no one is exempt from contracting it. As shown by this ad, the phrase "Aids makes us equal" proves that AIDs has the potential to kill anyone, even people who are viewed as invincible—Superman. According to the New York Times article, "30 Years In, We Are Still Learning From AIDS," by Lawrence K. Altman, unlike smoking or getting cancer, AIDs affect all heterosexual and homosexual men, women, and children of every race and age through sexual activities, blood transfusion, or genetic inheritance (Altman 1). Therefore, it does not specifically target a particular race/class/age/gender/orientation as people would assume—even superheroes can contract the disease. Superman always has his powers and muscles but in this case, he is stripped of both aspects. He needs an oxygen mask to breathe and his body is as skinny as a stick figure. His face is extremely pale and he has the look in his eyes of a helpless person. All of these negative elements he possesses make him equal to an average person who is not a superhero. The ad also turns down any stereotypes people have made over the years about AIDs and its patients. The organization branched its network to help people with AIDs from all over the world; this ad was one of many that informed people of the disease and addressed the stereotypes. By using Superman in the image, it banishes the idea that people with this disease are mostly African-Americans and/or homosexual men. People who come across this ad will know that they are not the exception when it comes to this disease; the organization came up with this idea to alert them and show that no one is superior.
Many people affected by AIDs are stereotyped by their race and sexuality. In the article, "Aids and Racism in America," Janis Hutchinson states that people believe those with AIDs must be African-Americans, homosexuals, or other minorities. However, even though 70% of AIDs victims are African-Americans and Hispanics—just as people assumed—more than those cases are among white...

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