Magic Johnson Foundation To Launch Nationwide Campaign To Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness Among Blacks
The Magic Johnson Foundation on Friday, World AIDS Day, in Los Angeles will launch a nationwide campaign to educate and empower blacks about HIV/AIDS as public health officials and community leaders in Los Angeles County are calling for increased HIV testing and outreach to blacks and Latinos, the Los Angeles Times reports. The campaign, called "I Stand With Magic," has a preliminary goal of reducing by 50% the HIV infection rate among blacks by 2011. According to Amy Rock Wohl, a researcher at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 72% of Latinos and 53% of blacks in the county learn they are HIV-positive less than one year before the virus has progressed to AIDS, compared with one in three whites who learn they are HIV-positive at such a late stage. Los Angeles County statistics also show that in 2004, Latinos accounted for nearly 50% of new AIDS cases. According to Luis Lopez, HIV policy director for a not-for-profit health clinic in Los Angeles, HIV-positive Latinos and blacks face increased stigma, and minority men who have sex with men might be less likely to identify themselves as gay or bisexual, which can make it difficult to reach such groups using traditional HIV/AIDS outreach approaches. "A lot of Latinos don't want to identify as being gay for fear of stigma," Lopez said, adding, "I think that sense of denial and stigma contributes to high-risk behavior and delayed testing." Lopez recommended developing culture-based, Spanish-language campaigns to reach Latinos and said the campaigns should emphasize that HIV/AIDS treatment is available and effective (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 11/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.