New CDC campaign asks: What’s your reason? / ¿Cuál es tu razón?
For immediate release: Thursday, June 6, 2013
Contact: National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
CDC campaign focused on increasing HIV testing among Latino gay and bisexual men
For yourself, your family, your friends, or your partner – What’s your reason? / ¿Cuál es tu razón?
In an effort to increase HIV testing among one of the hardest hit groups of men in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a new campaign that asks Latino gay and bisexual men to consider their reasons for getting tested. Developed with input from more than 150 Latino gay and bisexual men, as well as community leaders and experts, Reasons/Razones is a national, bilingual campaign focused on increasing HIV testing among Latino gay and bisexual men. The campaign is launching today in Los Angeles, one of the cities with the most severe HIV epidemics in this population.
Reasons/Razones encourages HIV testing through a compelling series of campaign ads that feature gay and bisexual Latinos sharing their reasons for getting tested for HIV, while encouraging others to get tested as well. The campaign uses images of family, friends, and partners to emphasize the strong sense of self, family and community. Information about accessing fast, free and confidential testing is also provided.
“Every Latino gay or bisexual man should be armed with life-saving knowledge of his HIV status,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “But too many are HIV-positive and don’t know it, putting their health and the health of others at risk by increasing the chances of inadvertently transmitting HIV to others.”
The campaign includes online, print, and billboard advertising; social media outreach; and activities at local Gay Pride events.
“By getting personal about the reasons to get tested, this campaign helps gay and bisexual Latinos recognize the importance of knowing their HIV status,” said Jonathan Lopez, who appears in the campaign ads. “I hope that other gay Latinos will join me in removing the stigma around HIV so that testing can be more routine for at-risk men.”
In 2011, Latinos accounted for 21 percent of new HIV infections in the United States, while representing approximately 16 percent of the total U.S. population. Gay and bisexual men accounted for nearly 8 out of 10 new HIV infections among Latinos in the United States. A recent study in 21 American cities found that more than a third (37 percent) of Latino gay and bisexual men living with HIV were unaware of their infection. The need for greater testing is particularly urgent among young men. CDC reported that 70 percent of HIV-positive Latino gay and bisexual men between the ages of 18 and 24 do not know their status.
CDC recommends that all sexually active men who have sex with men get tested for HIV at least once a year, and may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g. every three to six months).
Reasons/Razones is the latest campaign of CDC’s Act Against AIDS initiative, a five-year, $45 million national communication campaign to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. The campaign helps advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for reducing new infections, reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, and educating Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it. Other elements of the Act Against AIDS initiative include Let’s Stop HIV Together, a national campaign for all Americans, targeted campaigns for at-risk populations such as African American women and gay and bisexual men, and campaigns to reach health care providers.