NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show" Interviews AIDS Advocate Who Uses R&B Music to Promote HIV Testing

NPR's "Tavis Smiley Show" yesterday included an interview with AIDS advocate Tony Wafford, whose consulting firm began an HIV prevention campaign that uses R&B music to promote HIV testing among African Americans. The campaign, which is titled "Fighting HIV through R&B" and is operated in partnership with drug maker Pfizer/Agouron, provides free R&B concert tickets for individuals who are tested for HIV and return to get their results. Counseling, pamphlets and videos on HIV/AIDS are also available through the campaign (Smiley, "Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 7/16). The campaign's 2003 "Fighting HIV through R&B" concert tour -- which is scheduled to travel to nine cities nationwide beginning tomorrow in Raleigh, N.C. -- will include performances by the O'Jays, the Four Tops, the Temptations and the Whispers (Pfizer/Agouron Web site, 7/16). Wafford said that he decided to get involved in fighting HIV/AIDS when he learned that 64% of newly reported HIV infections are among African-American women and that HIV/AIDS is the number one killer of African-American men and women ages 22 to 45. Wafford said that entertainment and celebrities "move our people, and certainly music more than anything," adding that by associating music with HIV testing, "people forg[e]t about the negative stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, [and] the fear factor [is] gone completely." Wafford said the campaign has tested 8,000 people nationwide over the last two years ("Tavis Smiley Show," NPR, 7/16).

The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.

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