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AIDS Foundation of Chicago Taps the Power of Radio to Promote HIV Testing; Declares August "Say Yes to the Test Month"

<p>MEDIA CONTACT: Johnathon Briggs, Chief External Relations Officer, (312) 334-0922, jbriggs@aidschicago.org</p>


August 15, 2013

Grammy-nominated R&B recording artist and reality TV star Syleena Johnson, Singer/Songwriter Pennie Hamilton Lend Voices to PSAs on Local Radio Stations

CHICAGO, IL. August 15, 2013 – The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) has declared August "Say Yes to the Test Month" to encourage Chicagoans to know their HIV status this summer.

More than 20,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Chicago – three times the national prevalence rate. Through its "Say Yes to the Test" campaign, AFC has tapped the power of radio to help change that story through public service announcements (PSAs) airing on seven Clear Channel Chicago stations: 107.5 WGCI-FM, 103.5 KISS-FM, V103, Inspiration 1390 AM, 95.5 El Patrón, 97.5 ESPN Deportes and 93.9 My FM. The PSAs, which will air in Spanish on El Patrón and ESPN Deportes, hit airwaves on August 1 and will run through August 31.

When listeners tune in, they might hear one of four "Say Yes" PSAs, including this one: "1 in 5 people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. Is HIV testing part of your health care routine? If not, then Say Yes to the Test. Visit ChangeMyStory.org to find HIV testing locations near you. Even if you've had one test, we encourage you to test several times per year based on your risk factors. After all, the risk is not knowing. Say yes to the test and get in the know."

The campaign is already making a difference. During Chicago's annual Northalsted Market Days street fair (August 10-11), 300 people were tested for HIV at a Wellness on Wheels mobile health van operated by the Illinois Department of Public Health and staffed by AFC's "Say Yes to the Test" outreach team, which conducts HIV testing year-round. Four people tested HIV-positive and are in the process of being linked to care services.

"Many of the people I tested said they'd heard our PSAs on the radio that very morning," said AFC prevention manager Anthony Galloway, who was onsite at Market Days. "It's nice to know that people heard the message, but even better to see that people stepped up and got tested."

One PSA features Grammy-nominated R&B recording artist and reality TV star Syleena Johnson from the TV One hit reality series R&B Divas; another, singer/songwriter Pennie Hamilton. Both encourage listeners to take control of their health by visiting www.ChangeMyStory.org, an AFC website that features an HIV testing locator tool and video testimonials from local Chicagoans.

Before the month ends, AFC's outreach team will support HIV testing at the 9th annual Love Fest health festival on Sunday, August 25 at Jackson Park from noon to 8 p.m. AFC is a sponsor of this year's event. Additional "Say Yes" campaign partners include: ConnectingYOUto PR Firm, an integrated public communications firm; actress Eden Elyse; and media personality Rick Party.

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Founded in 1985 by community activists and physicians, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is a catalyst for local, national, and international action against HIV/AIDS.



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