Maryland: Preventative Campaign Launched for Syphilis and HIV/AIDS
November 6, 2008
Health officials in Maryland have launched a campaign to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and syphilis among residents of Prince George's and Montgomery counties, particularly African Americans.
Blacks comprise 90 percent of AIDS cases in Prince George's County. New advertising that communicates key messages about the disease's prevalence is being displayed on 60 Metrobuses. "People need knowledge about what is going on in their community," said Joan Wright Odam, Prince George's County Health Department (PGCHD) surveillance chief.
The campaign urges individuals to practice responsible sexual behavior. "We wanted to keep the message short and to the point, so we can get people to think," said PGCHD Health Officer Dr. Donald Shell.
Health officials also want to raise awareness among area physicians. "This is something that is important to private health care providers," said Barbara L. Conrad, division chief of the State of Maryland Health Department. "They detect most of the HIV and syphilis cases." The goal is to encourage them to perform routine screening and testing, she said. "Syphilis is increasing in this area, so we need to tackle it here to make a difference for our safety."
09.11.2008; Odell B. Ruffin