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Public and Private Sectors Join to Get Out the Word about HIV Testing

Five-City Concert Series, Free HIV Testing Events, Special Programming and More

May 26, 2011 - Greater Than AIDS and GYT: Get Yourself Tested, two leading national campaigns committed to reducing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, are teaming up for a second year to encourage Americans to get tested and know their status. In the lead up to National HIV Testing Day (June 27), the scaled-up, month-long cross-promotion brings together major media and leading corporate brands with community organizations and state and local health departments to carry the message on air and on the ground across the nation.

"As we mark 30 years of AIDS, itís worth noting the tremendous progress made in terms of the life-saving treatments now available, but to benefit from these advances one must first know their status," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President & Director, Health Communication & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation, a partner on both campaigns. "Be Greater Than AIDS: Get Yourself Tested is an empowering, uplifting message that makes getting tested an act of pride, not shame."

"Our audience has never known a time without HIV, but through efforts like GYT, weíre committed to empowering them to forge a world where HIV doesnít exist," said Jason Rzepka, Vice President of Public Affairs, MTV. "Weíre proud to join with this remarkable coalition and reinforce regular testing as one way Americaís youth can be greater than AIDS."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the more than one million Americans living with HIV today, one in five of those infected donít know their status. The CDC encourages all Americans between the ages of 13-64 to get tested on a routine basis as part of their overall health and well-being similar to cholesterol, blood pressure, and other screens.

Silvestri and Else propose that lessons learned from studying SIVs in their natural nonhuman primate hosts may provide a path to an effective AIDS vaccine. SIVs are found exclusively in African nonhuman primate species and represent the original source of human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 and HIV-2). More than 40 species of African monkeys are infected in the wild with SIVs. Yet, virtually none with the exception of chimpanzees progresses to HIV/AIDS or gets sick. Evolution has enabled them to adapt to SIVs and co-exist peacefully with chronic infection.

Elements of the Be Greater Than AIDS: Get Yourself Tested Month promotion include:

  • Five-City Summer Concert Tour , in partnership with EMMIS Communications and Radio One , that integrates HIV/AIDS information and testing resources into some of this summer's biggest concerts, including those sponsored by EMMIS and supported by Gilead Sciences in Chicago (Jamboree, 6/4), New York (Summer Jam, 6/5) Los Angeles (Powerhouse, 6/25), and sponsored  by Radio One in Miami (SpringFest, 5/28) and Atlanta (Birthday Bash, 6/18).  On air promotions in the lead up to the concerts, including DJ call outs and targeted public service ads, will promote testing.  Giveaways and other special promotions will support listeners who get tested.   An on-site information booth will offer more resources.  Additionally, the "Road to the Chicago's Jamboree Concert Testing Tour," conducted in partnership with GYT, is providing free testing at six Chicago-area college campuses throughout May.   
  • Mo'Nique hosts AIDS radio special and other special programming to promote testing as a routine part of health care.  Academy Award winning actress, Mo'Nique, guest hosts a half-hour long radio show about AIDS in America that is being distributed to more than 90 Clear Channel Radio stations throughout the month as part of the company's partnership with Greater Than AIDS.  Additionally, MTV, a founding partner of GYT, and other media partners will air targeted public service messages to encourage testing.  
  • Road to ESSENCE Music Festival:  Testing Tour , coordinated by the Black AIDS Institute and Louisiana Department of Health will provide free testing at stops in six cities across the state culminating with three-days of testing at the ESSENCE Music Festival in New Orleans (July 1-3). The cities providing free testing on the Testing Tour include Shreveport (June 25th), Alexandria (June 26th), Lake Charles (June 27th), Lafayette (June 28th), Baton Rouge (June 29th), and New Orleans (June 30th).
  • Community resources and informational content distributed in coordination with the National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA), Gilead Sciences, Orasure and others .   Greater Than AIDS and GYT promote local HIV testing resources, information about HIV/AIDS and provide informational materials for health centers and organizations to help promote HIV testing via their online stores/toolkits through extensive web and social media platforms.

"NAPWA founded National HIV Testing Day in 1995," said National Association of People With AIDS President Frank Oldham, Jr., "because we were already seeing that people with HIV who know their status sooner and start treatment with antiviral drugs sooner live longer, healthier lives. Today, 30 years into the HIV epidemic, there is more and more evidence that people with HIV who get tested every year and start treatment as soon as they know their status are also significantly less likely to infect others. Itís a tremendous win-win: when we know our status and get into treatment, we protect our own health and we protect the ones we love!"

The Greater Than AIDS
movement responds to the AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular to the severe and disproportionate epidemic among Black Americans and other heavily affected groups. Through a national media campaign and community outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease among those most affected. Greater Than AIDS is coordinated by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Black AIDS Institute. Additional financial and substantive support is provided by the Ford Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, MAC AIDS Fund among others.

GYT GET YOURSELF TESTED An extension of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundationís Emmy and Peabody-winning "Itís Your (Sex) Life" partnership, GYT: Get Yourself Tested campaign, developed with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, STD Division, and Planned Parenthood, focuses on reducing the spread of STDs, including HIV, among people 25 and younger. The GYT campaign includes on-air promotions and programming on MTV, targeted online and mobile information resources and on-the-ground activations. Gilead Sciences, Inc. provides support and resources for select elements of the campaign, including the Be Greater Than AIDS; Get Yourself Tested month.


For further information contact:
Rakesh Singh, (650) 854-9400 ,

"Reproduced with permission - Kaiser Family Foundation"

Kaiser Family Foundation

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