New campaign for HIV testing targets African American men

“Status is Everything”: These are the words repeated in the new HIV testing campaign to be launched by the Newark, NJ African American Office of Gay Concerns (AAOGC).
The website is not functional yet, as the campaign will be revealed on December 1, 2009, and officially launched in January 2010, but their preview photo shoot for the advertising campaign was released on flickr this week.
Photos feature young gay African American men with the caption “Status is Everything,” and the ad campaign will refer viewers to a hotline and website where they can schedule free HIV testing at local clinics.
Not found in this campaign, however, is the need for a cogent campaign that’s inclusive of young women of color. In 2007, blacks accounted for 44% of the 455,636 people living with AIDS in the 50 states and District of Columbia. And as Advocates for Youth reports,

Black women and Latinas account for 79 percent of all reported HIV infections among 13- to 19-year-old women and 75 percent of HIV infections among 20- to 24-year-old women in the United States although, together, they represent only about 26 percent of U.S. women these ages.

One idea that has circulated this year accuses black men on the “down low,” that is, closeted black men who have sexual exposure to other men while dating women, of contributing to the HIV epidemic and women’s infection rates in the US. Yet, the director of the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, Kevin Fenton, concluded that the cause of increased infection rates among black women was instead the incidence of black men with multiple heterosexual partners. He cites data that shows a lack of bisexual self-identification among the community of HIV-positive black men. (Is it possible that the accusation that “down low” men spread HIV is an extension of the race-fueled trend of the feminization of black men?)
This advertising campaign, while potentially powerful in the gay male community, won’t help the black women who comprise 61 percent of all new HIV cases among women.
One thing is certain: Newark’s new campaign, while not targeted toward the women affected most by HIV, is a nice change from other disturbing HIV advertising we’ve seen.

Join the Conversation

  • Hyper

    an extension of the race-fueled trend of the feminization of black men
    This is new to me. I’m used to seeing the opposite trend, of hyper-masculinization and hyper-sexualization of black men.
    Could you talk a little more about the feminizing trend please? That kind of reversal is interesting.

  • jenpalex

    FWIW, CDC has recently had (not sure if it’s currently going) a very large, national campaign encouraging black women to be tested for HIV: “Take Charge, Take the Test”. It makes perfect sense from a social marketing and public health standpoint not to mix up the two different audiences.

  • HR

    Why would the African American Office of Gay Concerns make an HIV testing campaign that includes gay women more to the point why would a historically GLB organization make a campaign that has anything to do with straight women?
    Gay women are at low risk for HIV. Most of the AAOGC’s funding is for MSMs (men who have sex with men) hence why men are featured. Why would a nonprofit for gay people feature a low-risk demographic in their advertisements? Plenty of other nonprofits get the funding to do exactly that and target straight (behaving) women of color in ther HIV testing advertisements? Why go after one small nonprofit for targeting specifically who they are supposed to and are funded to target? There are so many campaignslaunching now that address the rising rates of HIV in black swomen (the vast majority of whom contract HIV through heterosexual sex).
    This post is stupid.

  • HR

    Additionally – 60-70% of new HIV infections are among MSMS, overwhlemingly MSMS of color, and this organization is doing excellent work in that community… so great job giving them bad press for doing precisely what they should be?

  • HR

    Additionally – 60-70% of new HIV infections are among MSMS, overwhelmingly MSMS of color, and this organization is doing excellent work in that community… so great job giving them bad press for doing precisely what they should be?

  • Sex Toy James

    How dare the African American Office of Gay Concerns create a campaign targeted at gay African Americans! Scandal and outrage!
    This seems to be a not uncommon format, the “[insert group here] is doing [something] that does not address [the issue that the poster is concerned about]” formula. Meanwhile, the fact that the group in question has no mission to address the issue that the poster is concerned about is not really considered. If I were to play it right I could write pointless feminist outrage articles all day long using that formula. Popular media and advertising are great candidates for this formula.

  • boxedin

    I don’t have a problem with these advertisements either; in fact, I think they are a really positive step to address a community that has long been ignored by government health officials. Also, men, in general, are usually left out of the discussion about sexual responsibility. I have always felt that women were primary targets for sexual health, as women are the ones to get pregnant, and thus, responsible for not doing so. Seeing someone take action to include men in sexual health, and address a traditionally underrepresented population, is long overdue– I’m glad to see it’s finally happening!

  • jb10

    I don’t know if you can hardly blame them since all the funding is going to MSM and gay men of color! If you hadn’t heard, non-profits do what the money stream tells them to, and right now, the money goes to MSM of color!
    go figure!
    get some insight before you bash social marketing campaigns that are trying to do real work in the community.
    If you hadn’t noticed, there aren’t that many out there in the first place that are actually worthy to serve the communities that they do.

  • aleks

    Isn’t this taking WHat aboot teh menzing a little far?

  • Stephanie

    I have to agree with the majority of comments so far. This campaign is by a group interested in addressing the concerns of gay African Americans, or else very poorly named. Asking them to extend their campaign to include what I assume to be straight identified women would be like asking them to target a white audience.

  • Princess

    Having a healthy body is very musch important as it helps us to do the things that we want to do freely. In today’s situation putting our health at stake could greatly affect our budget. It is not a secret anymore that our country is in crisis. One of the effects of the financial turmoil over the last few years has been bank closings. Well, perhaps not so much bank closings, but bank seizures by the FDIC. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can seize a troubled bank if they think they are in imminent danger and need to be reigned in, and over 400 banks are currently flagged as being in trouble. However, the rate of banks being targeted has slowed, though more banks have been in trouble than ever before, and one wonders just what the most knowledgeable do with their money. It seems that with the record number of bank closings, perhaps all that TARP money may have been ill-spent.

  • Apostle Shada Mishe

    THE IDEA that AMBUSH cures AIDS
    is being proven by the more than 400 individuals who have taken a dose of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. The result is that AMBUSH ‘KILLS’ the virus by causing the protein envelope to rupture and the viral particles are discarded by the white blood cells. AMBUSH is able to ‘KILL’ the virus that are ‘hiding’ in the lymph system by its ‘natural radioactive’ properties. This process allows the body to ‘return to normal health’ with a corresponding immunity to that or those strains of the virus.
    What is AMBUSH ?
    AMBUSH is a radioactive isotope of uranium that is found in the ‘palm’ plant of which there are more than 3000 species. When ingested, AMBUSH causes the body temperature in the trunk area to rise to about 102 degrees when the individual is sleeping. The preparation takes four hours per batch, which is then given to the individuals for consumption 60 ml three times daily for 21 days. AMBUSH is a herbal preparation in this form but it contains an active ingredient which is a ‘NEW’ crystalline substance, a drug from the ‘palm plant’ similarly to ASPIRIN originating from the willow tree bark
    After 21 days on AMBUSH, ALL the individuals experienced a decrease in viral load to undetectable, an increase in cd4, increase in RBC, an improvement in general health such as more color to the face, decrease in Buffalo hump, an increase in gluteal muscles, a decrease to having no joint pains whereby individuals can bend to touch their toes, and walk up steps are but a few examples. There is also a dramatic increase in their sexual appetite beginning after the first week of therapy
    In any plant concoction such as percolated ‘tea’, there are 30-40,000 compounds, whi ch would take the scientific community twenty years to isolate one particular ingredient if they knew what they were looking for. The LORD GOD has given me seven steps to isolate the active ingredient, which is soft and metallic in nature and has a carbon- uranium-sulfur-(classified)-phentolamine configuration or structure. This is similar to Federick Kekule and the discovery of the benzene ring where he dreamt the structure.
    As an antiviral and ‘natural radioactivity’ producing agent, AMBUSH is also effective against leukemia, lupus and HPV. Here I am saying that I have ‘GIVEN’ AMBUSH in the same ‘strength’ and dosage to patients with leukemia, lupus and HPV. A 35 year old male with HIV found it difficult to impossible to urinate was put on ‘green tea’ and water while the doctors contemplated prostrate surgery. One of the doctors gave him my number , I sent him a supply of AMBUSH an d he has not been given any more ARV’s, since taking AMBUSH 18 months ago, is in ‘good’ health and has expressed a willingness to be examined by HIV investigators like many others who have taken AMBUSH.
    I have sent this ‘IDEA’ to most HIV research agencies, scientist of the field, universities, hospitals, clinics, politicians and news agencies to which it is REJECTED because the name of THE LORD GOD is mentioned. He has steered me scientifically through the processes such as which plant and how to produce the active ingredient. What are the odds of a Florida Pharmacist picking a plant would contain the CURE for HIV/AIDS ?
    I have never charged any of the people for their supply of AMBUSH but a life saving has been spent on the project with NO renumeration from any sources because AMBUSH falls outside the walls of modern medicine and research.
    My proposal is that I PROVE that AMBUSH CURES HIV/AIDS by giving it to a number of END-STAGE or DRUG-RESISTANT people and the scientific community watches their recovery. This proposal addresses the problem in that I have already outlaid the results to be obtained.
    This IDEA is unconventional in that the scientific community has rejected AMBUSH because I say it is GOD given. Secondly if I wrote it according to certain standards, then it might be peer reviewed. However, THE LORD GOD has also shown me that there are five enzyme systems associated with the virus, reverse transcriptase, protease, fusion and two more of which causes the virus to be AIRBOURNE. This means that without DIVINE intervention mankind and ALL warm- blooded mammals will be extinct in a number of years.
    The PROOF of what I am saying is found in scientific papers wherein it is found that when the protease cuts the viral strands, it cuts it at DIFFERENT lengths EVERY time, to which it should always be a valine at the end but is a different amino acid every time. This is why it is IMPOSSIBLE to produce a VACCINE.
    Since this is NOT a hypothesis but there are about 400 individuals who have taken AMBUSH, here lies a vast area in which to check, recheck and confirm that AMBUSH CURES AIDS. Let it be mentioned that during the HIV reproductive cycle, reverse transcriptase converts viral RNA into DNA compatible to human genetic materials. Thus the human DNA has been ‘hijacked’ and since each person has a DIFFERENT DNA, then the new viral copy is unique to that person which shows that each individual has a DIFFERENT STRAIN of the virus. Consider two HIV positive people swapping viral strains and increasing its complexity with multiple partners.
    It can also be proposed that they be revisited as proof that the strain or strains that they had were ‘killed’ at the time of taking AMBUSH considering that a person can catch as many different strains as there are people who are infected by HIV.
    I am also willing to work with the scientific community in identifying those individuals who took AMBUSH and wish to be identified with this process notwithstanding that some are stigmatized while others are jubilant,
    Once AMBUSH is verified as being able to accomplish that which is aforementioned then the next stage might be the natural and artificial synthesis of the substance.
    Finally, if this is accepted or not, believed or not, THE LORD GOD always wins and this is the heavenly truth to which AMBUSH was divinely given to mankind for the CURE of HIV/AIDS and it will be here forever. Apostle Shada Mishe.
    Here is a video taped presentation that I gave at t he Martin Luther King library in Washington