The Big Duh!
The California Department of Health Services/Office of AIDS sponsored an invitation-only symposium in San Diego this August geared toward increasing community knowledge of new prevention efforts focused on persons who are already infected with HIV. The three-day symposium entitled "Positive Changes," brought together state and county health officials, community leaders, members of the CDC, and reps from community-based organizations to discuss current trends, and share information and strategies that are currently being used across the country. Several workshops were offered that gave insight into working with specific populations such as gay youth and injection drug users. One program that was highlighted during the event is the "HIV Stops with Me" campaign based in San Francisco and Boston. This is an innovative social marketing campaign that utilizes print ads, a Web site, and a controversial television commercial targeting the gay and transgendered audience. The campaign, which uses HIV+ spokesmodels, seeks to increase accountability among HIV-positive gay and bisexual men with regard to their sexual practices.
Another program highlighted during the conference was the CDC sponsored PHIPP (Prevention for HIV Infected Persons Project). This program (which includes the Los Angeles-based Positive Images) is part of a national demonstration project being coordinated by Walt Senterfitt of the CDC.
Although the symposium helped to provide insight to health officials regarding the new direction of prevention work among the gay community, there was a definite lack of information on programs targeting women.
In addition there was nothing that focused on "self-identified heterosexual men" (who are . . . duh!, the major source of infections to women). Although this work is just getting off the ground, we are hopeful that funders in the future will not leave either of these groups out of the picture.
After all, HIV stops with us.
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This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.