The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has unveiled two new HIV prevention initiatives aimed at helping all sexually active Americans take charge of their health—including a new national HIV testing campaign, as well as an online risk assessment tool to help people determine how best to protect themselves and their partners from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The awareness and education efforts were announced at the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta as part of the CDC’s ongoing Act Against AIDS national communications initiative, which aims at ending complacency about HIV/AIDS across the United States.
The CDC’s new national testing campaign, titled “Doing It,” features everyday people, community leaders and celebrities in a variety of ads, emphasizing that HIV testing is a routine part of life, and a smart choice for staying healthy and protecting yourself and your partners. Online, print and TV ads will be geared toward all Americans ages 18 to 64, and will feature a wide spectrum of communities, including gay, bisexual, heterosexual, black, Latino, white, male, female and transgender people.
The CDC is also piloting a new online HIV risk reduction tool that will allow users to compare the risk of different sexual activities and see how one or a combination of modern HIV prevention methods—such as condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and treatment as prevention for folks who are HIV positive—can help lessen their risk of contracting or passing on the virus.
“We have more tools to effectively prevent HIV transmission and acquisition than ever before—it’s now a matter of making sure that people understand what works so they can make fully informed decisions about risk,” said Eugene McCray, MD, the director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention in a press release. The agency intends to promote the campaign through national ads, Pride events, social media and engagement efforts throughout the year.
The CDC estimates that 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, and that nearly 40,000 cases are still being diagnosed in this country every year. U.S. health authorities recommend that everyone get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care routine. People with more than one sexual partner, those who have been recently diagnosed with an STI, sexually active men who have sex with men (MSM), and people who inject drugs should get tested at least once a year.
For more information about “Doing It” and the HIV risk reduction tool, click here.