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ACT!ON Newsletter

May 2009
Act!on Newsletter

HNR Leadership Corner

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Kevin Fenton, MD, PhD, FFPH

Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As you already know all too well, the burden of HIV in African American communities is staggering. Here—in the United States—CDC estimates that 1 out of every 16 black men will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetimes. One in 16. And 1 in 30 black women will be diagnosed with HIV. These statistics are certainly alarming and underscore the need for all of us to do more to fight the further spread of HIV and its effects on our communities.

We cannot allow this crisis to continue. Today we have many more opportunities than ever before to Act against AIDS and to reduce the disproportionate burden that black men, women, and young adults bear.

There is hope amid the crisis. There is a growing network of black leaders, organizations, and individuals who are committed to our nation’s Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis among African Americans (HNR). HNR partners continue to lead, finding innovative ways to spread HIV and AIDS prevention messages throughout the country. CDC is proud of its partnership with you and of the success that your efforts have raising awareness of HIV/AIDS among African Americans, promoting HIV testing, and reducing HIV risk.

On February 7, many HNR partners participated in the 9th annual observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). “Black Life is Worth Saving” was the charge, and “Get Educated! Get Tested! Get Involved! Get Treated!” was the call-to-action for African Americans nationwide.

At its core, HNR is a call for mobilization. It is a call to action for government, communities, organizations, and individuals to do more to prevent HIV infections among African Americans. CDC just began a major new initiative that expands upon existing mobilization efforts in African American communities. The Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI) will build upon the commitment of 14 nationally respected organizations with reach, credibility, history of service, and a network of affiliates in African American communities across the country. CDC is very excited about this innovative new initiative, which will enable each organization to make HIV prevention a core component of its day-to-day activities. I invite you to find out more by reading the article about AAALI in this newsletter.

On April 7, CDC launched a new campaign, called Act Against AIDS. The Act Against AIDS campaign, which is also featured in this newsletter, provides consistent messages as well as a mechanism for collaborative action. Act Against AIDS unifies CDC’s HIV prevention communications under one theme. In coming months, the campaign will begin dissemination of phases that increase awareness of the impact of HIV/AIDS in the United States, promote HIV testing among African American men and women, and combat myths and misperceptions that contribute to the spread of HIV among African Americans. While Act Against AIDS represents a further expansion of CDC’s efforts to implement effective communication campaigns developed specifically for African Americans, some phases of the campaign will not exclusively target African Americans. This is key, since reducing HIV among African Americans and other hard-hit populations must be a shared responsibility across all parts of society. Messages to the general public will work to attack complacency and motivate action among all Americans. Importantly, these messages will also help mitigate the potential for stigmatization of those at highest risk by reinforcing the reality that HIV is a serious problem that affects all of us—our brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and neighbors.

As the network of HNR partners continues to expand, it is key that all of our partners understand how critical each individual and organization is in the fight against HIV and AIDS. We are inspired by your work and your many successes, and we hope this issue of the ACT!ON newsletter provides additional information and opportunities for inspiring you and furthering collective action to reduce the burden of HIV and AIDS in the United States.

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CDC Announces Act Against AIDS Campaign and Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative

Act Against AIDSOn April 7, CDC launched a new communication campaign, Act Against AIDS, to facilitate awareness, public education, health literacy, health care provider marketing, and highly targeted behavior change communication objectives. The campaign ties together existing and planned campaigns as well as efforts to mobilize community leaders under one campaign brand. The campaign features national public service announcements (PSAs) and online communications as well as targeted messages and outreach to the populations most severely affected by HIV. African Americans, by far, bear the greatest burden of HIV in the United States. While accounting for just 12% of the U.S. population, blacks represent roughly half of new HIV infections and AIDS deaths every year. Future phases of the Act Against AIDS campaign will focus on reaching other specific populations at greatest risk with HIV prevention messages tailored to meet their unique needs.

The initial phase of the campaign—9½ Minutes—is an effort to combat complacency about the HIV crisis in the United States and raise awareness of the continued severity of the epidemic: that every 9½ minutes, on average, someone in the United States is infected with HIV.

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Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative

A 9 1/2 Minutes ad now adorns a panel on this bus shelter in Washington, D.C.

A 9½ Minutes ad now adorns a panel on this bus shelter in Washington, D.C.

To help ensure the widespread delivery of Act Against AIDS messages within African American communities, CDC recently announced the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative (AAALI), a $10 million, 5-year partnership with 14 of the nation’s leading African American organizations to integrate HIV prevention into each organization’s existing outreach programs. AAALI seeks to harness the collective strength and reach of traditional, longstanding African American institutions to increase HIV-related awareness, knowledge, and action within black communities across the United States.

Although many AAALI partners have longstanding commitments to addressing HIV among African Americans, the new initiative enables each group to make HIV prevention a core component of its day-to-day activities. The 14 AAALI partners represent a broad spectrum of the African American community and were selected through a competitive process. All of these organizations have demonstrated reach, credibility, and influence at the national, regional, and local community levels, as well as the ability to effectively reach African Americans at risk through established communication platforms, such as newsletters, websites, and annual conferences.

We encourage all of our HNR partners—who have already contributed greatly to increasing awareness of, communication about, and testing for HIV/AIDS in their communities—to use the materials at the 9½ Minutes website to continue fighting complacency and raising awareness of this devastating disease. To download materials, such as videos, badges, and banners, visit the Resources section of the 9½ Minutes website. If you need more information or want help in disseminating Act Against AIDS messages, send an e-mail to HNR@cdc.gov.

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CDC Raises HIV/AIDS Awareness at Trumpet Awards Health and Wellness Fair

Xernona Clayton (center) poses with participants at the 1st annual Trumpet Awards Bazaar/Health and Wellness Fair.

Xernona Clayton (center) poses with participants at the 1st annual Trumpet Awards Bazaar/Health and Wellness Fair.

The Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) in the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) brought HIV awareness, communication messages, and testing information to some of the African American community’s most influential members during the 1st annual Trumpet Awards Bazaar/Health and Wellness Fair on January 23 and 24, 2009. The fair preceded the 17th annual Trumpet Awards on January 25 in Atlanta. In support of the Heightened National Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis among African Americans (HNR), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with Xernona Clayton to bring HIV/AIDS awareness to attendees of both events.

HNR partners Thomas Dortch and Xernona Clayton at the 1st annual Trumpet Awards Bazaar/Health and Wellness Fair.

HNR partners Thomas Dortch and Xernona Clayton at the 1st annual Trumpet Awards Bazaar/Health and Wellness Fair.

The goal of the bazaar/health fair, which was organized by Xernona Clayton’s Trumpet Awards Foundation, was to bring health-related topics focusing on the African American community to all attendees.

Several well-known leaders attended the event, including HNR partners Thomas Dortch, chairman of 100 Black Men of America and founder of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame; and Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, PhD, of The Links, Inc.

Engaging African American Small Businesses to Promote HIV Testing

Stopping AIDS is Everyone's Business Poster: Nearly 90% of the AIDS Cases in Baltimore are among African Americans. Get Checked. Get Treated.On February 11, Baltimore and Maryland health officials, alongside local business and labor leaders, held a press conference to announce the launch of the Baltimore Business/Labor Responds to AIDS Project. This project, which is a part of CDC’s Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS (BRTA/LRTA) program, is a partnership between the Baltimore City Health Department, the Maryland AIDS Administration, CDC, and local business and labor organizations to increase HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, testing, and linkages to care among African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos living in areas of high HIV/AIDS prevalence. Similar projects are also being conducted in Detroit, Chicago, Miami, and Oakland.

Under the guidance of Ms. Wanda Watts of the Baltimore City Health Department, project staff Trina Palmore and Caroline Kingori and others have recruited over 120 business and labor organizations in the city’s Southwest, Madison/East End, and Patterson Park North and East areas. As part of their commitment, business owners—from barbershops to dry cleaners—use items such as grocery bags, window decals, dry cleaner bags, posters, and postcards to provide their customers with HIV awareness and prevention messages. Business owners are also encouraged to talk with their customers about the benefits of early testing and care.

Stopping AIDS is Everyone's Business.The goal of the bazaar/health fair, which was organized by Xernona Clayton’s Trumpet Awards Foundation, was to bring health-related topics focusing on the African American community to all attendees.

Several well-known leaders attended the event, including HNR partners Thomas Dortch, chairman of 100 Black Men of America and founder of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame; and Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, PhD, of The Links, Inc.

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HIV Prevention Update

2008 Compendium of Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Interventions

An early May update to the 2008 Compendium of Evidence-Based HIV Prevention Interventions adds 6 new evidence-based behavioral interventions (EBIs), bringing the total number of available EBIs to 63.

These interventions represent the strongest HIV behavioral interventions in the literature to date that have been rigorously evaluated and have demonstrated efficacy in reducing HIV or STD incidence and HIV-related risk behaviors and in promoting safer behaviors. Catalogued as either best-evidence or promising-evidence, the new EBIs include individual-, group-, and community-level behavioral interventions for high-risk populations. Although targeted to specific populations, most of the interventions can be adapted for a variety of populations if the intervention’s core elements are retained.

Of the total 63 EBIs, 35 are for African Americans; and 7 of the 14 new EBIs added since December 2008 are directed to African Americans. Of the 6 EBIs just added to the Compendium, 4 directly address the needs of different populations of African Americans: HIV-positive clinic patients, HIV-positive persons with childhood sexual abuse, heterosexual men, sexually active low income women, father-son pairs, and underserved populations at risk for HIV infection.

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Events and Meetings

HIV/AIDS Awareness Days

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National HIV/AIDS Strategy Updates

AIDS.gov: Access to U.S. Government HIV / AIDS information

USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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