CDC Launches New HIV Campaign ’Start Talking. Stop HIV.’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants gay and bisexual men to start talking to stop AIDS with a new HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.
The talk that's being encouraged includes conversations about HIV testing, HIV status, condom use and new options like medicines that prevent and treat HIV.
In a statement to SFGN, the CDC said, "Stopping HIV among gay and bisexual men has been a top CDC priority since the epidemic began more than three decades ago. Through Act Against AIDS, we have launched targeted campaigns about HIV testing for African American and Latino gay and bisexual men, who are at the greatest risk for HIV infection. Additionally, there are now more prevention options available than ever before. Recognizing this and following the success of the targeted campaigns, Start Talking. Stop HIV.is a natural next step. We believe this campaign will inspire life-saving conversations that address the realities of today's epidemic."
The campaign is designed to reach gay and bisexual men of all races in their everyday lives. Men who have sex with men, including those who inject drugs, account for more than half of the 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. and approximately two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year.
The campaign encourages gay and bisexual men to talk to their partners about HIV risk and prevention strategies. Additionally, the campaign speaks to men in all types of relationships -- from long-term partners to casual relationships.
It offers advice that other guys have found useful in having talks that can be awkward.
A conversation does not have to be face to face. Whether you talk, type, or text what is important is that you start the conversation about HIV.
All of this makes sense on paper, right? But would it work in the real world? Twenty-two year old Ross doesn't think so.
"I think as a campaign it has its heart in the right place, and I agree that open communication is vital to a healthy relationship (physically and otherwise). However, the idea that all gay men would be open to this type of relationship (sexual or romantic) seems misguided and naive. If it were all just as easy as the men in the videos make it seem, this wouldn't be a problem in the first place. In my opinion, the campaign comes across as optimistic, earnest and naive, especially because the subject matter is so heavy," he said.
But 25-year-old Ramon disagrees. "A lot of the time you go off of assumptions, whether it's just a hook up, or a real relationship. You're afraid to ask, so you just assume your partner is OK. I love the working in these videos. Whether he's the one or a one-night stand. The messages really spoke to me."
But he admits, talking is just the first step. "You have to be honest with your partner," he said.
For more information on the CDC's campaign, visit CDC.gov/ActAgainstAIDS or go to Facebook at Facebook.com/StartTalkingHIV