CDC, Educators Focusing on People Already Known to Be HIV-Positive In Order To Reduce Spread of Virus
Alarmed by the continuing spread of HIV, AIDS educators have started encouraging people with HIV to "take responsibility for not transmitting the virus" rather than relying on the "traditional prevention approach" of informing HIV-negative people about how to protect themselves, the New York Times reports. The strategy "represents an acknowledgment" that the old methods of fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS have "lost some of [their] effectiveness," according to the Times. As part of the new effort, the CDC plans to spend about $3.8 million annually to create "Prevention for Positives" programs in California, Maryland and Wisconsin; other states are funding similar initiatives themselves. The programs include discussion groups targeted at gay men that "specifically address ways to sustain safe sex practices" and efforts by health workers to educate physicians about risk reduction among HIV-positive individuals. Public health officials are also using "high-profile" advertising campaigns. "HIV Stops With Me," which was launched two years ago in San Francisco and is now used in Los Angeles and Boston, features HIV-positive people who discuss their infection in "highly personal terms" on television commercials, billboards and the Internet. However, some HIV activists oppose such campaigns. Billy Curtis, a youth counselor in San Francisco, said the commercials "ma[k]e scapegoats of" HIV-positive people and send a message to HIV-negative people that they do not need to protect themselves. "You're saying to people you have irresponsible HIV-positive people infecting these innocent HIV-negative people," he said (Tuller, New York Times, 8/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.