Alabama Launches AIDS Awareness Campaign for Blacks
Alabama Rep. Laura Hall (D) and State Health Officer Don Williamson on Monday announced a program, developed by Alabama State University, to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among black state residents, AP/Nando Times reports. The campaign includes brochures, billboards, radio and television discussions and public service announcements to educate blacks on the "growing public health crisis" in the African-American community. Although the 2000 U.S. Census showed that blacks make up 26% of the state population, they represented 70% of the new HIV cases reported in Alabama last year, with 30% of cases resulting from heterosexual intercourse. Williamson said that "the time has long passed" when AIDS was viewed as a gay white male disease, adding, "We are making an effort to reverse this and to focus more attention on the HIV virus in the African-American community." About 100 billboards are already on display around the state, mostly on interstate highways, he said. Hall, who lost a son to AIDS in 1992, said, "During that time before my son died, we talked to no one about what was happening in our family." The campaign is an effort to ensure that other families "don't have to suffer in silence," she added (Johnson, AP/Nando Times, 8/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.