Looking Out: CDC launches campaign encouraging HIV treatment

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  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a new ad campaign encouraging people with HIV to seek treatment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched… (Courtesy of the Centers…)
September 18, 2014|By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants the American public to understand that HIV-positive people who receive treatment live longer and healthier lives compared to those who don't receive treatment, and has launched a new nationwide campaign to get the word out.

The "HIV Treatment Works" campaign, announced Wednesday, is the CDC's "first communication campaign focused exclusively on encouraging treatment and care for people living with HIV," the health agency said.

"People with HIV who start and continue treatment live longer and healthier lives and are also 96 percent less likely to transmit HIV to others," the CDC said in its announcement of the new campaign. "Yet only one in four of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV have an undetectable viral load, meaning that the virus is at a level that provides maximum health benefits and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others."

The campaign, developed with input from more than 100 people with HIV as part of the CDC's Act Against AIDS initiative, will include online, print, TV and outdoor ads, as well as social media outreach and a website dedicated to sharing information and resources for those living with HIV.

"Today, not only can HIV treatment save lives, it can help stop a national epidemic in its tracks," said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, in a statement. "Our goal is to help everyone with HIV know the tremendous health benefits treatment offers to them and the protection it provides to their partners."

 The campaign's goal is to "combat complacency" about treatment, and help patients overcome fears.

"It wasn't easy finding out I had HIV, but deciding to start and stick to my treatment has helped me live a happier, healthier life," said Aaron Laxton, who appears in ads for the new campaign, in a statement. "The idea of starting treatment can be daunting, but it's important to remember you aren't alone -- and that by taking HIV medication every day and seeing your doctor regularly, you can stay healthy and keep doing the things you love."

For more about the campaign, the resources it provides, and stories from other patients, you can check out the campaign's website here.

You can also find more information here, here and here.

Elsewhere in LGBT news: 

- Speaking of the fight against HIV and AIDS, today is Dining Out for Life -- an annual fundraiser in which restaurants donate a portion of their proceeds to the fight. This year, 50 restaurants in Baltimore are going to contribute between 25 percent and 50 percent of diners' bills to A Moveable Feast. You can learn about Moveable Feast here and check out the participating Baltimore restaurants here.

- If you want to be in a movie, here's your chance. Filmmaker Meikil Berry will be holding auditions at the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore (GLCCB) on Friday, Sept. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for her upcoming film "Landlords and Lovers." The film is about "a young naive lesbian who is exploring her sexuality."

- Another week, another LGBT conference in Baltimore. This time, the group FEDQ -- which formed in 2013 and represents LGBT employees in the federal workforce -- will be holding its second annual training conference from Sept. 22 to Sept. 25 at the BWI Marriott. The event will feature a broad range of speakers, including top-level officials like Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management. Looks like you can still register.

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