Our country’s HIV and AIDS infection rates are alarming. Consider that every 9.5 minutes, one person in America is infected with HIV (resulting in about 56,000 new infections per year) and that more than 14,000 people die from AIDS annually.
To combat this, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a five-year campaign, called Act Against AIDS, to educate the masses about the epidemic and to "combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States," said the CDC in a press release.
“Act Against AIDS seeks to put the HIV crisis back on the national radar screen,” said Melody Barnes, assistant to the president and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. “Our goal is to remind Americans that HIV/AIDS continues to pose a serious health threat in the United States and encourage them to get the facts they need to take action for themselves and their communities.”
Act, which has a $45 million budget for five years, will include PSAs, online messages and targeted outreach to the people that are most deeply affected by HIV/AIDS, mainly African-Americans.
In order to get the message into our communities, President Barack Obama also announced the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AALI). It will partner with 14 leading Black civic groups to incorporate HIV awareness and prevention into their established outreach efforts. Some groups that have signed on include the Congressional Black Caucus, National Urban League, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and the National Council of Negro Women.
The CDC is also partnering with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to help get the message out through the media.
For more information about the campaign, head to Nineandhalfminutes.org.
– Whitney Teal