The Cleveland Department of Public Health this week launched a citywide campaign aimed at curbing the spread of HIV among black women, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
The $750,000 campaign, which is financed by CDC, is using billboards, buses and radio ads to promote the message: "You know him. But you can't know everything. Get a free HIV test."
David Merriman, acting AIDS director for the city's health department, said data show that black women ages 18 to 34 are at the highest risk of contracting HIV, primarily through unprotected sex.
"These women really need to know their status," Merriman said.
The health department has said HIV prevention efforts in black communities are important, with nearly 40% of HIV-positive black men reporting sexual behavior that puts their female partners at risk of HIV transmission.
Merriman said that the city currently performs about 2,200 HIV tests annually at its clinics and that the health department aims to increase the number of HIV tests preformed among black women.
The city will monitor the progress of the campaign for a year, according to Merriman.
A similar campaign also was launched this week in Philadelphia, the Plain Dealer reports (McEnery, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 10/19).