March 10, 2014
This article was reported by the Augusta Free Press.
The Augusta Free Press reported that the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Greater than AIDS would partner to launch a three-part HIV awareness campaign targeting women. VDH estimated that 48 percent of the 6,600 HIV-positive Virginia women progressed to AIDS diagnoses last year. Interim State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine, M.D., M.P.H., stated that the Virginia Greater than AIDS campaign (Virginia>AIDS) aimed to "empower women with knowledge and support for healthy living," which would improve the lives of all families in the commonwealth. The campaign would focus on personal stories and conversations intended to combat the stigma surrounding HIV.
Elaine Martin, director of HIV Prevention Services, noted that the Virginia>AIDS launch commenced with the "Empowered" campaign, because HIV had a disproportionate effect on African-American women and girls. "Empowered" features Alicia Keys in conversation with five HIV-positive women from around the country and makes its debut on March 10, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
Another segment of the campaign included a "Deciding Moments" feature on the Virginia>AIDS Web site, where visitors could post their personal deciding moments to inspire hope in others. The third campaign segment would be "I Got Tested," which would connect people via hotlines or Web resources to free testing resources in their communities. This campaign phase would precede National HIV Testing Day on June 27, when VDH would partner with select Walgreens stores to provide free, confidential HIV testing.
Levine emphasized that early diagnosis and treatment are effective in preventing HIV/AIDS, and that women could help ensure a longer and healthier life for themselves and their families through HIV testing.
Call the Disease Prevention Hotline toll-free at 1-800-533-4148 or visit http://greaterthan.org/states/virginia/ for information about testing services locations.
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