Campaign seeks to end HIV stigma
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In order to encourage more people to get screened for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, it is important to eliminate the stigma surrounding these infections and viruses. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the launch of Let's Stop HIV Together, a campaign designed to combat the stigma and apathy that surrounds HIV, particularly amongst younger individuals.
"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."
The campaign involves advertisements that feature people living with HIV, surrounded by their friends and family and calling on Americans to help stop the spread of this virus. These images will be shown on Facebook and Twitter as well as in print, online and outdoor advertisements. Social media is important tool in this fight because young people have a higher risk than older individuals of contracting HIV, and these internet resources may be the best way to reach them.
A 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that many Americans continue to report discomfort at the idea of interacting with those who are HIV-positive. This is despite the fact that it has been proven that HIV cannot be spread through saliva, sweat, tears or casual contact. This suggests that there is still a fair amount of stigma and misinformation surrounding the virus, which is why campaigns like this one are so important.
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