Sexual Health news - HIV

CDC launches new campaign to fight HIV

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched its Let's Stop HIV Together campaign on July 16 in anticipation of the 19th International AIDS Conference, which will be held in Washington D.C. This countrywide campaign aims to give voice to U.S. residents who are currently living with HIV, as well as their friends and family members.

The campaign will advertise in major cities raise HIV awareness

There are currently 1.2 million individuals in the U.S. who are living with HIV, 20 percent of whom are undiagnosed, according to the CDC. Like with other sexually transmitted diseases, although a recent rise in cases has been attributed to more efficient testing methods, the number of new infections remains high. The Let's Stop HIV Together campaign is an attempt to bring more people together to fight against the disease through social media and advertising. It aims to help the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which works to decrease the number of new infections, eliminate the stigma and discrimination, and educate Americans about the disease. 

For HIV-positive individuals, love and support may make all the difference when it comes to treatment and managing the virus. Jamar Rogers, who was a semifinalist on the television singing competition "The Voice" has HIV, and admitted on the show that support from his family  and friends gave him the courage to seek the care that has allowed him to pursue his passion for singing.

Stigma and discrimination persist

One of the main issues that the campaign addresses is that although most Americans are aware of the logistics of HIV, many still succumb to fear, discrimination and have many misconceptions of the disease. In addition, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey in 2011 that revealed that many Americans are uncomfortable interacting with HIV-positive individuals. This even applied to those who knew that the disease could not be transmitted through contact, sweat or saliva.

"In the fight against HIV, stigma and complacency are among our most insidious opponents," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "This campaign reminds us that HIV affects every corner of society, and that it will take every one of us - regardless of HIV status, gender, race or sexual orientation - working together to stop this epidemic."

Stigma is also an immense issue that is often a barrier to receiving screenings and using protection. Ultimately, it can prevent individuals with HIV from getting the care they need to improve their quality of life, manage the virus to prevent its progression to AIDS, and keep from transmitting it to others. The campaign hopes to reverse the tendency to stigmatize the disease  and spread the truth about HIV.