Reducing New HIV Infections Show Topic for Pride Month
June 5, 2008
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A local program tackles the issue of HIV infections with men who have unprotected sex with men and the struggles in reaching this at risk group with prevention messages.
With the widespread use of the Internet to meet people, casual contact is becoming more popular especially for men who have sex with men. Contra Costa Health Services' (CCHS) Get Ready, Get Healthy (GRGH) and Vida Sana en Vivo (VSEV) will launch shows in both Spanish and English as part of CCHS' outreach efforts to educate men who have sex with men on their risk of contracting HIV. The shows present HIV prevention, testing and treatment information and discuss how "men who have sex with men" differ from gay and bisexual men.
"Despite successes in the prevention, education and treatment of HIV, infection rates are highest in African American communities and among men who have sex with men but don't identify as gay or bisexual. We want to reverse these trends and decrease these infection rates," said Carla Goad, Education and Services Supervisor for Contra Costa Health Services' AIDS Program.
Goad said the television programs spotlight local community partners, the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa on GRGH, CCHS' HIV Testing Van on both shows and the East Bay Community Law Center for VSEV.
"Confidential HIV testing and support services are available for every community throughout the county and are staffed by well trained professionals," said Goad. According to Goad, the English language show also includes an interview with an HIV positive person who talks about the stigmas and challenges he and other HIV positive persons face.
"One of the challenges we've had in preventing the spread of this disease is that the stigma associated with HIV can discourage testing. Testing early can increase treatment options that can slow the progression of the disease and improves the chances of not spreading HIV unknowingly," said Goad.
The shows, which run on Contra Costa Television channel 27, will air just in time for Pride Month. Get Ready, Get Healthy will premier June 9 at 7:30 p.m. and will replay June 12 and 19 at 10:30 a.m. and June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Vida Sana en Vivo, a Spanish-language show, will air June 12 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. and June 20 and 27 at 5 p.m.
More information about the shows and HIV prevention is available online at cchealth.org.
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- Carla Goad