June 9, 2004
Several HIV-positive Oregonians -- a bisexual white man, a black man, a young gay man, and a former methamphetamine addict -- will share their personal stories online as part of a statewide Web-based marketing campaign aimed at curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS. HIV Stops With Me, which launches June 13 at www.hivstopswithme.org, deals directly with sex and condom use and discusses issues like responsibility, communication and disclosure.
"It takes enormous courage to stand up publicly and say, 'I have HIV and I'm not going to infect anyone new," said Mitch Zahn, HIV prevention manager in the state Department of Human Services. "The power of this campaign is that it features Oregonians speaking out to others who are infected about how they can stop this," Zahn added. Visitors to the site can ask questions of the men and access additional resources.
The campaign began in San Francisco, where it has been effective, said Dr. Steven Tierney, director of HIV prevention for the city Department of Public Health. "The Internet is the new gay bar," explained Tierney. "People go there looking for information and partners and ideas. Having an active campaign that's Web-based really speaks to a whole generation of people for whom the Web is an integral part of their social life."
HIV Stops With Me is being funded by CDC, which estimates that 25 percent of the roughly 900,000 Americans with HIV do not know they are infected. Later this month, the campaign will launch in Seattle.