Operation WAVE Enlists Local Radio Broadcasters to Encourage African Americans to Get Tested for HIV
Deejays from three Memphis, Tenn., radio stations will broadcast live on Saturday from an HIV testing site at the Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival, which runs today through Sunday in downtown Memphis, in an effort to encourage African Americans to get tested for the virus, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. The deejays will give away T-shirts to those who get tested as part of a collaboration between station owner Clear Channel Communications and Operation WAVE (War Against the Virus Escalating), a Houston-based not-for-profit program. Operation WAVE was founded two years ago by former Memphis resident Ernest Jackson, who used to serve as vice president and general manager of WDIA-AM and WHRK-FM, two of the participating stations. The program, which encourages radio personalities to get tested and "talk about the importance" of knowing one's HIV status, operates in eight cities across the nation and in some areas has recruited corporate sponsors to provide tickets to concerts and athletic events as incentives for people who get tested. Jackson said that he particularly wants to reach African Americans because HIV/AIDS is "increasingly a disease of minority Americans." According to the Shelby County, Tenn., health department, African Americans account for 81% of known HIV cases and 69% of reported AIDS diagnoses in the Memphis area (Powers, Memphis Commercial Appeal, 4/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.