Two new CDC efforts aim to reduce HIV
ATLANTA — At the National HIV Prevention Conference, the CDC announced the release of a national HIV testing campaign and an online tool to help people assess their risk for acquiring HIV.
“Both of these efforts are designed to help people take control of their health, make informed choices and reduce their risk for getting and transmitting HIV,” Jonathan Mermin, MD, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a press release. “With more effective prevention options than ever before, it is essential that we provide accurate information.”
As part of CDC’s Act Against AIDS initiative, the bilingual national HIV testing campaign — called “Doing It” — emphasizes the importance of testing for all people aged 18 to 64 years. Key elements of the campaign include:
- national advertising in print and online;
- local advertising in 14 cities with high HIV prevalence;
- community engagement with high-risk populations;
- partner engagement with 15 organizations;
- a campaign website that provides a tool to search for HIV testing sites by ZIP code; and
- promotional materials.
The online HIV Risk Reduction Tool allows users to compare the risks for acquiring HIV associated with different sexual activities and to observe how the level of protection changes by using pre-exposure prophylaxis or condoms.
“The HIV Risk Reduction Tool provides everyone, regardless of HIV status, a one-stop resource for information to guide their decisions about reducing risk,” Mermin said. “Now, people can choose the best strategies for protecting themselves and their partners from HIV.”
Currently, the CDC recommends testing at least once in a lifetime for all Americans aged 13 to 64 years. They recommend testing at least once per year for people who inject drugs, people with more than one sex partner, people with sexually transmitted infections or people who identify as gay or bisexual. In addition, they recommend more frequent testing for some sexually active men who identify as gay or bisexual.
“We must do everything we can to increase HIV testing and access to all available strategies,” Eugene McCray, MD, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in the release. “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.”
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