National Campaign Aims HIV Message at Youth
In an effort to combat the growing number of teens contracting HIV, the ACCESS Project of the Adolescent Medicine HIV/AIDS Research Network kicked off "HIV. Live With It. Get Tested!" week on World AIDS Day. Through Dec. 9, community groups in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Washington, D.C., will seek to "empower" young adults to become "advocates" against the spread of HIV through peer education and outreach efforts, according to a press release from the ACCESS group. This "dynamic" campaign will address young people with teen-friendly language and events, using paid advertising, street marketing, a teen-targeted magazine called "The Deal" and public service announcements. It is estimated that every hour a person under the age of 21 is infected with HIV. The campaign will offer free testing and counseling in at-risk communities throughout the week. Each city will use the materials provided by ACCESS, but have the flexibility to customize their programs. "There is a strong, unifying theme for 'Get Tested!' Week, but there is room for each city to use their own innovative strategies to engage their communities," said Dr. Donna Futterman, chair of AMHARN. She added that "youth-appropriate education, prevention, counseling and testing" are the best ways to reach these groups in order to get care for those who need it and to re-emphasize precaution measures for those who are not infected. The National Institutes of Health, the Congressional Black Caucus, Lifebeat -- the music industry's AIDS advocacy group -- and the HIV/AIDS Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration all contributed funding to the "Get Tested!" program. Condom manufacturer Trojan also donated thousands of condoms to the cause for free distribution at events. For more information, visit http://www.HIVGetTested.com (ACCESS Project release, 12/01).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.