The winners are:
- Munaam Naeem (Alternative, Wellington)
Josh Chapman (Boy Next Door, Wellington)
Scott McDonald (Businessman/Professional, Wellington)
Roger Moore (Leather/Bear, Auckland)
Christopher Olwage (Party Boy, Auckland)
Liam Moir (Sportsman, Wellington).
3,766 votes were received online at www.safesexposterboy.co.nz during the past week for 21 finalists in six categories. All 21 finalists had emerged victorious from audience voting in a series of semifinal events held in gay venues nationwide during the month of November.
Prizes to the value of $1,000 are on offer for each winner. Along with all the other finalists, the winners will also receive Ink'd underwear, one of Safe Sex Poster Boy's major sponsors.
Josh Chapman, winner of the Boy Next Door category, says it's an "amazing" feeling to have won. "I feel like the people who voted for me truly believe I can do this role justice in spreading the message of safe sex among our community," he says. "I entered the competition because I thought that with my father dying in 1994 of HIV/AIDS, I already have a large understanding of what's needed to educate people. I hope to get the message through that unprotected sex not only increases the risks of HIV transmission, but also other STIs."
The six winners will gather this weekend in Auckland for their first photo shoot, for the cover of Express's December 19 Christmas issue. Highlights from the Express cover shoot will be videotaped for broadcast on the Safe Sex Poster Boy website. The winners will then be seen in new Gay Men's Health campaigns from February 2008.
The aim of the Safe Sex Poster Boy contest was to reinforce condom culture among gay and bisexual men in New Zealand, in recognition of rising rates of HIV. One gay or bisexual man was diagnosed with HIV every five days during 2006.
NZAF National Campaigns Co-ordinator Douglas Jenkin is delighted with the community response to the contest. Hundreds of text votes were generated from audiences at the semifinal events, and more than 11,000 visitors have flocked to the campaign website since its launch in September.
"This contest could not have been successful without community enthusiasm - the fine-looking men who put themselves forward as entrants, those who turned up to support the events, and the thousands of votes received during the final stages," he says. "The quality of the entrants and their intelligent views on safe sex are a wonderful reinforcement of the condom culture which has kept our communities safe from HIV for over 20 years."