Fighting Back With Knowledge; Campaign Aims to Inform Black Youth
April 1, 2010
African Americans represent just 12 percent of the US population but 46 percent of people living with HIV, as well as 45 percent of new infections each year. Black youth are particularly at risk, accounting for more than 50 percent of new HIV infections among people ages 13-24, CDC figures show.
"We can't ever end the epidemic in the African-American community until we end the epidemic among our young people," said Donna McCree, a behavioral scientist in CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. "We want them to talk about HIV. We have to break the cycle."
Toward that goal, CDC in March launched "i know," a social media campaign targeting blacks ages 18-24. Using Facebook, Twitter, text messaging (44144), a new Web site, and public service announcements, CDC is taking its message to young people where they connect in the hope of stimulating conversations around HIV/AIDS.
"The whole effort is designed to get them talking about HIV so we can share lifesaving intervention, reduce stigma, and increase their knowledge," said McCree.
Antron Reshaud and Marvelyn Brown are among those giving voice to the epidemic. "I never thought I could get it because I associated AIDS with gay men and Africa," said Brown, who was in high school when she learned she was HIV-positive. Reshaud, who is gay and was a college freshman at the time of his diagnosis, believed being in a monogamous relationship would protect him.
"By sharing my story, I'm putting a face to the campaign and making it real to my peers," said Brown. The campaign "will open a lot of doors for talking openly about the epidemic, sharing information, and hopefully paying it forward," said Reshaud. Other campaign participants include actor Jamie Foxx and political commentator Jeff Johnson.
For more information, visit www.nineandahalfminutes.org/iknow.
03.27.2010; Gracie Bonds Staples
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.