CDC Unveils New Campaign to Encourage HIV Testing Among Black Gay Men
August 18, 2011
CDC this week announced a new public awareness and education campaign to encourage HIV testing among black men who have sex with men (MSM). The agency previewed "Testing Makes Us Stronger," which will launch this fall, at its 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta.
HIV-status awareness must be boosted, conference attendees heard. Of black MSM surveyed in 21 major US cities in 2008, 29 percent tested HIV-positive, but 59 percent had not known they were infected. Between 2006 and 2009, new HIV infections grew by 48 percent among young black/African-American MSM in the 16 states and two cities CDC surveyed.
"People who know that they have HIV can take steps to decrease the risk that they'll transmit the virus to others, such as adopting safer-sex practices and beginning antiretroviral treatment," said Dr. Richard Wolitski of CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
- National online and print ads in media targeting black MSM.
- Outreach through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs targeting black MSM.
- Billboards and transit advertising, with a special focus on five cities with high HIV rates among black MSM: Atlanta, Houston, New York, Baltimore and Oakland, Calif.
- Promotional materials for distribution at community venues and online.
- Outreach and materials at black Pride events across the United States.
- Tailored local materials for health departments and community organizations.
Efforts to combat HIV among black MSM "are not at the scale that they need to be, and from what we've heard today, it's clear that we need to intensify HIV prevention for black [MSM]," Wolitski said. "HIV testing is one critical key component of prevention services that are needed for this population."
Testing Makes Us Stronger is part of CDC's five-year, $45 million "Act Against AIDS" testing and prevention campaign; visit www.ActAgainstAIDS.org.
Edge News (Boston)
08.17.2011; Michael K. Lavers
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