The Health Department issues new HIV campaign
NEW YORK (WABC) -- A new HIV campaign can be found throughout the New York City subway system in an effort to spread awareness about the disease and the potential development of other health conditions due to the virus. The Health Department is behind the campaign called, "It's Never Just HIV", which uses posters to target those who are at the highest risk of contracting the disease.
Currently, gay males and other men that engage in sexual activity with men have been found to be more susceptible to the HIV virus. In 2009, this specific group accounted for 43% of the newly diagnosed HIV infections in New York City. Additionally, Black and Hispanic males represented 57% of the newly diagnosed cases. In an internet video released by The Health Department, Dr. Monica Sweeney, assistant commissioner for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control explains, "Some 4,000 New Yorkers are newly infected every year. And the rate of new diagnoses is rising among young gay and bisexual men. In fact, the number of men who have sex with men under age 30 who are newly reported with HIV has risen by 50% over the last several years. This increase in new HIV infections 30 years into the epidemic is unacceptable to me and should be unacceptable to all of us. We have to respond strongly to prevent a new generation from getting this incurable infection." The campaign does not only focus on ways to prevent the disease, but also reminds the public that other serious illnesses are linked to the HIV virus.
A few of the health conditions that can develop after an infection with HIV are dementia, bone loss, and cancer. All of these conditions are dangerous and potentially life threatening. Although treatment for HIV has progressed over the years, there is evidence that the damage done in early stages of the disease can have lasting consequences. Dr. Thomas Farley, the New York City Health Commissioner, recommends that the "best way to stay HIV-free is to use condoms consistently." The ads and videos for the "It's Never Just HIV" campaign can be viewed at nyc.gov. The implementation of the campaign and the strong messages it is relaying to the public, may be able to change some of the overwhelming statistics and enforce safer sexual activity.
How to protect yourself and others:
If you are having sex, the safest relationship is a faithful one with one partner who is HIV-negative. If your partner is HIV-positive or either of you has other sex partners, here are some ways to reduce your risk:
Know your HIV status, get tested!
Get tested for other STDs
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