New Jersey: AIDS Outreach Distributing Information at Beauty Salons
May 31, 2005
In a bid to raise HIV awareness among Latinas and African-American women, the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services is distributing information packets to beauty salons throughout the state. Department figures show approximately 45,000 people in New Jersey have HIV/AIDS. Blacks and Latinas comprise 81 percent of the state's HIV-infected women.
"Hair and beauty salons are a hub of social activity in many of the communities where women are most at risk," said Laurence Ganges, assistant commissioner for the department's HIV/AIDS services division. HIV outreach workers -- armed with kits containing condoms, educational brochures, and nail files imprinted with a toll-free phone number with information on accessing rapid HIV testing -- are visiting salons in Atlantic City, Newark, Jersey City, Irvington, Trenton, Camden, Elizabeth, and Plainfield.
According to Mary Lou Freund, coordinator of testing and counseling at the Trenton-based Henry J. Austin Health Center, many people are under the false assumption that only gay, white men get HIV/AIDS. Most infected women get the disease through heterosexual contact with an infected partner, Freund noted. "A lot of women I meet do not believe they could possibly have HIV. They think avoiding intravenous drug use and sex with multiple partners keeps them safe," she said.
For more information, telephone 1-866-HIV-CHECK (1-866-448-2432).
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.