Cut for Life: Hairstylists and Barbers Against AIDS
An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and many are unaware of their infection. While great progress has been made in HIV prevention and treatment, there is much more work that must be done to address HIV.
Throughout the years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has led the fight in combating HIV by partnering with businesses like yours to support various HIV awareness programs through the Business Responds to AIDS (BRTA) Program. One unique BRTA initiative is Cut for Life: Hairstylists and Barbers Against AIDS.
Cut for Life engages hair care professionals across the country in HIV awareness and prevention in communities most impact by HIV. As a salon or barbershop, your business is the heartbeat of your community. It is the gathering place where your clients hold conversations, debates, or dialogue on topics that cross personal and political spectrums. Hair care professionals have always been a reliable fixture in communities. As a trusted and respected professional, you create relationships of trust with your clients, and they may be more likely to listen to what you say about HIV.
Giving back provides many benefits including a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment.
- Helps save lives: HIV is 100% preventable
- Shows that you care about your community
- Protects your clients, staff, and business
- Provides community recognition
- Connects with a national movement
As a respected professional, what you say and what you do is often of great value to your clients. You can choose a variety of ways to educate your clients about HIV, such as sponsoring a Shop Talk event. Clients, community leaders, and healthcare professionals can be invited to your establishment to receive and/or exchange information about HIV, as well as discuss what can be done to stop AIDS.
The following outlines ways you can organize and produce your own Shop Talk event. This listing of steps is meant to provide a general course of action in planning your event. Feel free to add additional steps to personalize your event to fit the needs of your community and/or client base.
- Plan your conversation or event around the needs of your clients. You know who they are and what messages they need most to hear.
- Determine the best forum for reaching your clients. Is it one-on-one dialogue as you service them or a group session with several clients at once?
- Determine the information and tools you will need on hand to help guide the conversation at the event. Visit CDC’s HIV/AIDS website to make sure that your conversation or event provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about HIV.
- Consider partnering with your local health department to offer additional information and onsite testing.
- Display materials such as Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign posters or quick tips posters on your work station mirror to spark conversation and promote your event.
- Encourage your clients to participate in the program via emails, social media, posters, palm cards, etc.
- Obtain feedback from participants so that you can plan future conversations and events.
- Encourage your clients to locate testing sites, get more information, and to learn more about HIV.
Whether you choose to distribute HIV-related materials or hold Shop Talk events, as a trusted and credible voice, you have a unique opportunity to provide valuable HIV information that can change your clients’ lives. The comfortable, familiar, and intimate environment of your shop or salon easily invites opportunities for shop talks and awareness events.