AIDS Educators Must Develop New, More Effective Safe-Sex Messages, Speaker Says at National HIV/AIDS Update Conference
AIDS advocates and health care officers must develop new safe-sex education messages, Mervyn Silverman, chair of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, said yesterday at the opening of the 15th National HIV/AIDS Update Conference, the Miami Herald reports. The campaigns of the 1980s, which targeted a primarily gay, white male audience, are no longer effective, Silverman said, adding that new programs must be specific to the races, genders, sexual orientations, ages and ethnicities that need to be addressed. "We have to tailor the message to the group, whether it's street kids or people over 50. We have to crawl into the heads of people to find out how we can get the message out, get it heard and internalized," he said (Robinson, Miami Herald, 4/1). Cristina Saralegui, of the Spanish-language talk show The Cristina Show, which has more than 100 million viewers worldwide, and Carl Folta, Viacom's senior vice president for philanthropic activities, also spoke at the opening session. Saralegui said that Hispanic parents do not talk to their children about sex, something that she has sought to change after learning that many of her friends are HIV-positive. Folta spoke about Viacom's $120 million AIDS education advertising campaign, which has targeted all segments of the population, especially those under the age 25, women and young blacks (McVicar, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 4/1). The Viacom campaign, KNOW HIV/AIDS, which was launched in January with the Kaiser Family Foundation, has already created 49 television, radio and outdoor ads that will appear on Viacom's television networks CBS and UPN and 200 affiliates; cable outlets MTV, BET, VH1, CMT, MTV2, TV Land, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Showtime, TNN and Comedy Central; more than 180 Infinity radio stations; and on billboards, buses and bus shelters. Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation on Friday announced that they were considering expanding the campaign internationally, possibly targeting developing countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/28). The conference, which continues through today, includes more than 60 speakers and workshops on a variety of AIDS prevention and treatment topics (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 4/1).
Selected sessions of the conference will be available online after April 3, 2003, through kaisernetwork.org's HealthCast service.