World AIDS Day is December 1st, and to commemorate the occasion, the National AIDS Trust (NAT) will be setting up a “Pop-Up Kissing Booth” in London’s Soho Square.
Sponsored by Attitude magazine and Sink The Pink, passerby will have the chance to either make out with an assortment of drag artists or the handsome ginger model Alex Mountain, recently featured in the “Red Hot” campaign.
The booth is a direct response to research that suggests 16 percent of people still believe you can contract HIV merely from kissing — up, astonishingly, from 4 percent 10 years ago.
“The booth is going to be great fun,” says NAT’s chief executive Deborah Gold, “but it also highlights an important message: That too many people in this country believe myths and scaremongering about HIV. This leads to stigma against people living with HIV, and increases the number of people getting the disease. Its time it ends.”
“The numbers of people who don’t know the basic facts about HIV and how it is transmitted is completely shocking,” says Attitude editor Matthew Todd. “And it should be cause for the government to bring in mandatory sex and relationships education in schools. The kissing booth is a fun way to make a really important point — that HIV is still here and more needs to be done to educate people about it.”