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Smith College

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

The Netherlands: Sexuality and Gender Identity


This study investigates the complexities involved in utilizing the terms of individual responsibility for the construction of HIV prevention campaigns that target men who have sex with men. Four health workers in the Netherlands were interviewed about their personal opinions regarding HIV intervention, and these interviews were analyzed qualitatively for their points of comparison and contrast. Then, campaign materials from organizations in the United Kingdom and Australia were analyzed for their use of the language of responsibility, their portrayal of MSM, their balance between promoting disclosure and communication, their focus on individual groups within the MSM community, and their overall deployment of either a liberal or normalistic approach to prevention. Results include the reality that even when the problems are made known through research, it is very difficult to create effective and realistic methodologies for intervention. One theme that arose from this study is that prevention campaigns need to provide a general message to MSM concerning communication, testing, and responsibility before any tailored messages are expressed. Additionally, it became clear that fear, stigma, and assumption-making are important targets for ‘responsible’ prevention work in the Netherlands.


Mass Communication | Public Health Education and Promotion


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