New CDC Campaign Gets People Talking About HIV

This article was reported by The Edge.

The Edge reported that CDC launched a new national HIV prevention campaign, Start Talking. Stop HIV., that focuses on encouraging gay and bisexual men to talk openly about sexual health, HIV testing, and HIV status. The campaign includes videos, posters, a conversation cheat sheet, social media outreach, and an online question and answer forum.

Studies have found that open communication about sexual health does not occur in many relationships, even though research has shown these dialogues reduce risk behaviors. "Given the range of HIV prevention options available today, talking about HIV prevention has never been more important for gay and bisexual men," said Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Mermin added that open discussions allow partners to choose what sexual health strategies work best for them.

The largest HIV population burden is among men who have sex with men (MSM), with nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections in the United States among this group. Young African-American MSM are at highest risk for contracting HIV. Risk notwithstanding, a recent CDC study found that more than one-third of MSM were unaware of their last sexual partner's HIV status.

CDC created the new campaign, part of its Act Against AIDS initiative, to combat American complacency about HIV and aims to reach all ages and races of MSM in any type of relationship. Informational material can be found at the campaign's Web site, www.cdc.gov/actagainstaids/campaigns/starttalking/index.html.