New campaign urges Americans to get tested for HIV

Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information response to the domestic epidemic, today unveiled new outdoor media messages urging Americans to get tested for HIV.  The “I Got Tested” campaign features real people’s stories of testing and encourages others to “join the movement.”

Of the more than 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one in five, or nearly a quarter of a million people, do not know they are positive; one third is diagnosed so late in the course of their infection that they develop AIDS within one year. The CDC encourages everyone to know their status, yet even those individuals at higher risk still are not getting tested.

The new campaign helps to connect people with free and low-cost testing in their communities by promoting hotlines and web-based resources provided by CDC, state and local health departments and AIDS service organizations.  Univision Network, one of the top five network in the country regardless of language and the top-rated Spanish-language network, also joins Greater Than AIDS this month to debut the campaign’s first “en español” messages in the lead up to National HIV Testing Day (June 27). 

"Despite overwhelming evidence that early diagnosis and treatment play an important role both in the health of those who are positive and in reducing the spread of HIV, many Americans at highest risk for infection still have not been tested," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director of Health Communication and Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a co-founding partner of Greater Than AIDS. “This campaign is about helping to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV testing and connect people with services in their communities.”

Out-of-home PSAs, including billboards, eco-posters, transit shelters, and interior bus and rail posters, begin appearing this month in 21 priority markets  in June, including:  Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Columbus (GA), Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Macon, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Newark, Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Savannah, Tampa, Washington, D.C., and West Palm Beach.  The campaign is supported by CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel Outdoor and other Greater Than AIDS partners who provide donated space for the PSAs.  

Jason George (GREY’S ANATOMY/ABC), Nadine Ellis (LET’S STAY TOGETHER/BET), Jessie Williams (GREY’S ANATOMY/ABC), Naturi Naughton (THE CLIENT LIST/LIFETIME), Dennis Haysbert (24/FOX, THE UNIT/CBS), and other celebrity supporters of Greater Than AIDS, appear in complementary new TV and radio PSAs, also issued in support of National HIV Testing Day, speaking out about the issue and proudly proclaiming their own decisions to get tested, asking “Have you?” 

“With what we know about HIV and what it will take to end the AIDS epidemic, HIV testing has never been more important.  Fortunately, it has never been easier either,” said Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute and a co-founding partner of Greater Than AIDS.  “We are thrilled to have members of the Institute’s Black Hollywood Task Force on AIDS join in this effort to help bring attention to the importance of knowing your status.” 

New Spanish-language TV and radio public service ads (PSAs), presented as SOMOS>SIDA, feature both Latinos living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, sharing how the disease has touched their lives.  Among those profiled are: Eddie, who has been living with HIV for more than two decades and speaks of the importance of his family’s love and support in maintaining his health; Gladys, Eddie’s sister, who was the first family member her brother disclosed to and has been a source of support; Yuri, a young HIV positive gay man who overcame his reluctance to start treatment and is now realizing the benefits; and  Yvette, a researcher working with HIV positive women and children who speaks to the importance of regular testing.

“As part of our mission to inform, entertain and empower Hispanic America, Univision is pleased to join with Greater Than AIDS and its partners, including the CDC, health departments and local AIDS organizations, to increase awareness and help Hispanics understand the importance of getting tested for HIV/AIDS,” said Ivelisse Estrada, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Community Relations, Univision Communications Inc.

Together with the National Association of People with HIV/AIDS, the founder of National HIV Testing Day and other partners, Greater Than AIDS is also making available 100,000 posters and postcards, as well as other informational materials, free of cost to AIDS services and other community groups to support local outreach in June.

“People living with HIV/AIDS are living longer and healthier lives than ever before,” said Frank Oldham, Jr., President and CEO of the National Association of People with AIDS. “It is more important than ever to know your HIV status. AIDS deaths have steadily decreased in recent years and with new treatment therapies, we are proving we are indeed greater than AIDS. Now is the time to Take the Test, Take Control on National HIV Testing Day and beyond. Every day is testing day.”

Source: via Kaiser Family Foundation


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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