Baltimore, U.S. launch campaigns for HIV testing
The same week that a city task force presented Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake with a plan to tackle HIV infections in Baltimore, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched its own campaign to increase HIV testing.
The campaign, called Testing Makes Us Stronger, targets black gay and bisexual men, one of the most affected populations. The federal agency worked with community leaders, doctors and others to develop the program that aims to increase awareness, increase access and boost testing. Once they know they are infected, they can be treated and take steps to prevent infection of others.
The campaign includes national print, online and transit ads, a website and Facebook page, promotion at events -- in six heavily impacts cities including Baltimore. The others are Atlanta. Houston. New York. Oakland, Calif., and Washington.
The CDC has also released data ahead of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, which shows nearly three out of four Americans infected with HIV don’t have it under control. That’s largely because one in five don’t know they are infected. Of those who do know, about half receive ongoing medical care.
There are about 1.2 million people living with HIV in the country and about 28 percent have a suppressed viral load, meaning they are healthy and a low risk of transmitting the virus.
Treatment, however, is effective. The CDC reports that of those in ongoing care, 77 percent have suppressed levels of virus.