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Just when you thought Halloween couldn’t come soon enough, a giant cell phone has been spotted wondering the streets of Provincetown, Mass. The man wearing the costume, set to resemble a giant Iphone open to a Grindr app profile, has been wondering the streets hoping to raise both eyebrows and awareness.
In addition to the costume, revealing his own half-naked body, Tim McCarthy, has been handing out fake samples of HIV tainted semen and blood to curious onlookers, all in an attempt to raise awareness that online hookups pose to users in the form of STDs. Recording the spectacle and posting it to a Facebook page devoted to an awareness project he calls “R U The 1."
The artist and activist is engaged in an awareness project seeking to raise visibility to the prevalence of HIV among users of online “hookup” apps. The project, along with an accompanying Facebook page come with the intentionally equivocal tagline: "Are you the one I’ll spend a night with? The rest of my life with? Or the one who gives me HIV?"
“The concept is meant to be disturbing. We want to engage guys — especially young guys — in a conversation about HIV that seems to have lost momentum,” McCarthy said in a statement. "The Internet and smartphones have changed gay culture and how we meet one another," added McCarthy. "There’s no shame in meeting online for sex. But if guys knew about the prevalence of new HIV infections, they might do more to prevent its transmission.”
Along with the test tubes, McCarthy is also distributing a pamphlet detailing some statistics concerning HIV as well as some helpful tips for safe online dating. See video of McCarthy below.