Baltimore Launches HIV/AIDS Education Campaign
Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Wednesday announced that the city will join CDC's national campaign to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and education, the Baltimore Sun reports. Arts, business and civic leaders gathered at City Hall on Wednesday for a workshop to discuss ways to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the city (Fritze, Baltimore Sun, 10/4). The CDC campaign is called "Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis Among African-Americans." Dixon is asking Baltimore leaders to participate in HIV/AIDS awareness, communication and testing in response to the epidemic in Baltimore (Mayor's Office release, 10/3).
"We have a serious problem in Baltimore," Dixon said ahead of the meeting, adding, "It is a crucial issue that we have to stay focused on." Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein said, "While we are succeeding in the treatment of HIV as a medical condition, we are not doing enough for prevention," adding, "Everybody understands that our number of new cases is unacceptably high." The Baltimore metropolitan area has the second-highest rate of AIDS cases in the country after Miami, according to city officials. State health data indicate there were 1,120 new HIV cases and 711 new AIDS cases between mid-2004 and mid-2005. As of December 2006, nearly 16,000 people in the city were living with HIV or AIDS, health officials said (Baltimore Sun, 10/4).