- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
SIMMONS: Ending complacency on HIV means embracing abstinence
Just days before the nation’s capital hosts the XIX International AIDS Conference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced a major ad campaign to combat what it characterizes as “the two major obstacles to HIV prevention — stigma associated with the infection and complacency about the epidemic.”
Of course, there is a third obstacle — the stigma and complacency associated with abstinence — but more on that later.
For now, let’s appreciate the current campaign for what it’s worth.
That prevention has been deemed a worthy phalanx against HIV/AIDS is a godsend, since for too long we mistakenly focused on who was susceptible to HIV/AIDS instead of how to prevent for the sake of all God’s children.
Indeed, the CDC’s national campaign, dubbed Let’s Stop HIV Together, takes a stark look at the broad swath of HIV-infected Americans, who are brown and black and white, heterosexual and homosexual, mothers and children, male and female.
“In the fight against HIV, stigma and complacency are among our most insidious opponents,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, 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, announced Monday, features people living with HIV and puts all of us on the spot. The CDC is using print, online and outdoor ads, and it will employ a favorite of young people and Internet-obsessed adults — Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
The campaign targets six heavily affected cities — Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and Washington — and will include 21 others later in the year.
Empirical evidence points up the need to combat complacency and stigma: A 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey shows that the proportion of Americans who saw or read about HIV in the United States fell by nearly half from 2004 to 2011. And that means too many of us may not even be aware of the epidemic, which infects an estimated 50,000 Americans each year, or their own risk of infection.
Incarceration, promiscuity and adultery, intravenous drug use, cultural misnomers like MSM (men having sex with men on the “down low”) all tempt fate.
Enter the faith community: On Friday and Saturday at Howard University, an estimated 500 global faith-based leaders will convene a precursor to the AIDS conference, focusing on health, dignity and justice.
Hosted by the Balm in Gilead and the National Faith in Action Coalition, participants of many faiths will discuss ways to fight the stigma of HIV/AIDS from the ground up.
And it, too, is an honorable fight.
As someone old enough to remember when people didn’t want the word “cancer” used in an obituary for fear of being stigmatized, I find this truly humanitarian confab welcoming.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...
- SIMMONS: Obama visits Southeast D.C. with minimum wage on his mind
- SIMMONS: Mayor Gray has only himself to outrun in campaign
- SIMMONS: Jack Kent Cooke's legacy continues to produce winners
- SIMMONS: Thanksgiving is about much more than gobble, gobble
- SIMMONS: Effects of raising D.C.'s minimum wage are murky
Latest Blog Entries
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Allen West warns Obamas backdoor gun control is moving forward
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Susan Rice slams Russia, China on human rights
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Obama: Growing income inequality 'defining challenge' of this generation
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Playing Through covers the world of PGA golf, as well as tips your the average golfer to play better.