Originally published Aug. 22, 2011
With new numbers from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showing a 48 percent increase in new HIV infections for young black gay and bisexual men between 2006-2009, activists and CDC officials are trying to find ways to halt the pandemic particularly within this community.
Today it was announced at the 2011 HIV Prevention Conference that the CDC is set to launch a "Testing Makes Us Stronger" campaign with black MSMs (men who have sex with men).
Featured in posters and in social media campaigns including Facebook and Twitter, the project will urge black gay and bisexual men to get tested and know their status. The campaign will also be advertised in black gay publications as well as mainstream black publications.
The conference is being held in Atlanta through Wednesday, Aug. 17.
The campaign kicks off Sept. 27 in Atlanta, Houston, New York, Baltimore and Oakland, said Richard Wolitski, deputy director of the Behavioral and Social Science, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the CDC. Wolitski spoke during a media roundtable today at the conference.
The campaign is part of the "Act Against AIDS" program initiated by the White House in 2009 and is a five-year, $45 million investment.
The campaign features positive images of black gay men, who are affectionate with each other, in an attempt to do away with the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS, particularly within the black community.
"These men haven't seen each other represented in HIV campaigns in the past," Wolitski said. "I think this campaign is a huge step forward."
The "Testing Makes Us Stronger Campaign" includes these components:
- A series of national online and magazine print ads in outlets targeting black gay and bisexual men.
- Outreach through multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and blogs targeting black gay and bisexual men.
- Billboard and transit advertising, with a special focus on five key U.S. cities where black gay and bisexual men are heavily affected by HIV: Atlanta, Baltimore, Houston, New York, and Oakland.
- Promotional materials, such as posters, postcard and palm cards, for distribution at community venues. These will be available online for community-based organizations and health departments to download and use locally.
- Outreach activities and materials at Black Pride events across United States.
- Tailored campaign materials for use by health departments and community organizations across the nation.
-Story by Dyana Bagby, The Georgia Voice (Reprinted by permission of The Georgia Voice)