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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
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Press Release

Black Celebrities Unite in Response to AIDS

New Greater Than AIDS PSAs and Social Media Messages Mark National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

February 6, 2012

More than 60 Black celebrities have united with Greater Than AIDS to bring attention to the severe and disproportionate epidemic facing Black Americans and reduce the stigma surrounding the disease. Black Americans account for half of the approximately 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in this country today -- and 44 percent of new infections -- while representing just 12 percent of the population. Blacks are also more likely to die of AIDS as compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

Dennis Haysbert

Dennis Haysbert

Coinciding with National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (Feb. 7), Greater Than AIDS is debuting new public service ads (PSAs), coordinated social media posts and other messages from popular Black television and film actors, directors, producers, and others in Hollywood about the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS in the Black community. Many of the participating talent spoke about people they knew who are living with or have died from the disease. Participating talent will be supporting the campaign's themes of unity, hope and empowerment through their own Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms and through personal appearances.

"This is an unprecedented response from the Black Hollywood community to an issue that has touched so many of our lives," said Phill Wilson, President and CEO, Black AIDS Institute. The Black AIDS Institute is a co-founding partner with the Kaiser Family Foundation of Greater Than AIDS. "Our voice is one of the most powerful tools we have in combating the ignorance and stigma that still surrounds this disease." The celebrities featured in this campaign are all members of the Black AIDS Institute's Black Hollywood Task Force on AIDS, which works to engage the Hollywood community in an effort to fight HIV/AIDS. "The artists and executives who have joined us in this campaign realize that no matter the celebrity, they are also members of the Black community, and they are trying to do their part."

"HIV/AIDS is a deeply personal issue for many Black Americans, yet the issue is too often silent in many communities," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication and Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. According to a national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 60 percent -- three in five -- Black Americans know someone living with HIV/AIDS or who has died from the disease; for most, a family member or close friend.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute are executive producers. Linda Jones of The Mass Appeal produced, and Vanessa Williams (SOUL FOOD) with Quincy LeNear and Deondray Gossett (THE DL CHRONICLES, THE VOICE) directed.

View the PSA:

More From This Resource Center

Magic Johnson Wants You to Know: He Isn't Cured of HIV

Living With HIV? African Americans Share Their Advice

This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.

See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Programs & Outreach

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Carlos Harris (South Carolina) Fri., Feb. 10, 2012 at 11:33 am UTC
As an Outreach HIV peer: South Carolina is in need of leadership in the fight against HIV among the African American Community. To have big names supporting the HIV/AIDS cause, will certainly help to promote education, awareness and reduce the still prevalent stigma.
Carlos Harris
Camden S.C.
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Comment by: Makeka (South Africa - Durban) Wed., Feb. 8, 2012 at 12:32 am UTC
Wow this is beautiful that the celebs are coming together to support people living HIV/AIDS in USA. I once leaved in USA as a missionery and that time though I knew about my HIV status but I was quite because I remember admitted in Almhurst Hospital in New York the way nurses treated me I could see that if I can disclose my HIV status here I might be faced with discremination. At that time I was admitted for TB but I went through a traumatic situation the way people who have TB were treated. So this is good news. I still have a wish to get an opportunity to come to USA and educate/motivate the America that people affected by HIV are still belong in the community all they need is the love, support from the family and from the community.
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