"Know Now. Live Longer." Promotes HIV/AIDS Treatment Awareness
September 3, 2010
"In 2008, 42 percent of the people living with HIV/AIDS in Memphis were not receiving medical care for their disease. A simple lack of awareness of the [Ryan White Program's] existence prevents many HIV-positive members of our community from seeking the help they need to survive.
"This week, the Shelby County Government Division of Community Services is launching the Know Now. Live Longer.' awareness campaign to educate the community about the free HIV/AIDS medical and support services available through the Memphis Ryan White Program. First, we hope to educate the community about the services offered by the Ryan White Program, such as dental health care, HIV prescription assistance, medical care, and health education workshops. Second, we plan to raise awareness that treatment for HIV/AIDS is available and makes it possible for those living with the disease to live long, healthy, productive lives.
"The campaign targets minorities in eight Memphis-area counties in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, where 80.9 percent of those infected with HIV/AIDS are in the racial minority. All of the campaign materials feature Memphis-area residents who are living with HIV.
"Take, for instance, Nicole (we are not using full names in the campaign); she is a young, self-employed businesswoman who became infected with HIV after being sexually assaulted 14 years ago. Through the Ryan White Program, Nicole has received assistance in paying for her HIV medications and participated in classes to learn about HIV/AIDS and proper nutrition habits. She now serves as a peer mentor to community members who have been recently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.
"My colleagues and I, along with the help of volunteers such as Nicole, work tirelessly to educate the community about the importance of seeking treatment for HIV/AIDS. I hope that you share the campaign website with friends, family, co-workers, church members, and partners to help us spread the word in the area. With your help, all HIV/AIDS-positive Memphis-area residents can live long, healthy lives."
For more information, telephone 877-HIV-KNOW (877-448-5669) or visit www.hivmemphis.org.
The author is the Ryan White Program manager with the Shelby County Government Division of Community Services.
Tri-State Defender (Memphis)
08.19.2010; Dorcas Young
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