April 30, 2012
Chicago -- Jazz had little hope when she was diagnosed as HIV-positive. She was pregnant, unstably housed and recently separated from the father of her two young children, who still depended on her for care.
But after finding stable housing and consistent medical treatment, among other support services, Jazz's baby was born HIV-negative. If you didn't know that was possible, you're not alone.
That's why the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative (PACPI) has partnered with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and the Cause Marketing Initiative at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University to launch a public education initiative called "None Born Positive."
Across Chicago, starting April 30, 2012, you will begin to see public transit and bus shelter ads (like the one pictured right) that encourage people to know their HIV status and to call PACPI if they're HIV-positive and pregnant (or considering pregnancy).
"It's so important for women to realize why knowing their status is critical. Everyone should get tested and know their status -- not just pregnant women who can prevent the transmission of HIV to their infants," said Anne Statton, executive director of PACPI. "Do it for your own mother, in honor of Mother's Day (Sunday, May 13)."
Today, virtually no babies should be born HIV-positive. Education, testing and treatment can prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission by 98 percent, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The "None Born Positive" ads also encourage people to donate to support PACPI's substantial efforts in eliminating mother-to-child transmissions of HIV. The Chicago-based organization helps fund and develop HIV-specific prenatal classes, a statewide hotline for pregnant HIV- positive women, enhanced case management linking HIV-positive women to care and rapid testing in Illinois hospitals.
In each of the last five years, PACPI has served more clients than the previous year, helping 133 women in 2011. Success is easily measured: No HIV-positive births were reported among the 69 women who gave birth in 2011.
"The reduction of mother-to-child transmissions has been one of the great victories in the ongoing fight against AIDS," said David Ernesto Munar, AFC's president/CEO. "In 2012, no child should be born with HIV. PACPI's work is focused on making that a reality."
After being diagnosed with HIV, Jazz was scared and confused. She felt sure she would have to give up her baby for adoption. But thanks to PACPI, her family was placed in an apartment. Through her PACPI case manager, she found treatment and support services that helped her reduce her viral load to an undetectable level.
Like many other women in her position, Jazz continues to push through her struggles for the benefit of her children.
"To be honest, the only thing that got me taking my medications was knowing that it would protect my baby," said Jazz, whose name was altered for this press release to preserve her anonymity. "They make me feel so sick that sometimes I want to give up, but then I think: I want to make sure I'm here for my kids."
You can help women like Jazz by donating to PACPI this Mother's Day to ensure that none is born with HIV. Together, we can end mother-to-child transmissions.
Online, you can join the conversation on Twitter (twitter.com/PACPI) using the hashtag #nonebornpositive or Facebook (www.Facebook.com/PACPI2000). The campaign also features radio public service announcements (PSAs) and online ads. To see all four "None Born Positive" ads and hear the PSAs, visit: www.aidschicago.org/media/pacpi/.
Pro bono support for this campaign was generously provided by Static Studios, a Chicago-based professional sound design studio.