AIDS Policy & Law (08.31.01) - Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Alabama has launched a public information campaign to educate
its African-American residents about HIV/AIDS. The state
Department of Public Health's Division of HIV/AIDS is
sponsoring the awareness campaign in conjunction with Alabama
State University in Montgomery. "It is our hope that by using
an array of communications modes and a consistent HIV
prevention message, we may continue to increase awareness and
decrease infection rates for all people, especially among
African-Americans," said Jane Cheeks, director of the HIV/AIDS
Prevention and Control Division.
The campaign will include culturally sensitive HIV prevention
messages delivered through brochures, billboards, radio and
television talk shows and public service announcements that
will reach across the state, health department officials said.
Organizers of the campaign said rising rates of infection
among African-Americans in the state constitute a public
health crisis. Although less than 26 percent of Alabama's
population is African-American, in 2000 nearly 70 percent of
newly reported HIV/AIDS cases were in African-Americans.
African-American males represented 44.4 percent of HIV/AIDS
cases in the state, and African-American females represented
25.9 percent. State health officials said the severe impact of
HIV/AIDS on African-Americans and the disparities in health
outcomes are evident in almost every county in Alabama.