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HIV-positive in the Last Frontier

New media campaign focuses on prevention and stigma

(Anchorage, AK) - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today joined a national ad campaign targeted at people already infected with human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, to help prevent further spread of the virus. The "HIV Stops With Me" campaign features HIV-positive people from Alaska and the Lower 48 delivering messages to inspire others to take care of their health and not transmit the virus to others - "I'm HIV positive and I act with integrity," says Tim, "I'm HIV positive and I walk with pride," says Karen.

The campaign features advertisements on popular websites, as well as cards and posters that will be distributed in bars, clinics, and community events throughout the state. The campaign also has a website, www.HIVStopsWithMe.org, where people can interact with the HIV-positive spokespersons, learn about local services and events of interest to the HIV-positive community, and even create their own HIV prevention ad.

"Many HIV-positive people in Alaska feel isolated," said Carl Aronson, with the Alaska HIV/STD program. "We want them to know that they're not alone, and that being open about their HIV status can help decrease the stigma associated with this disease and reduce new HIV infections."

The campaign's four spokespersons have made HIV prevention a top priority in their lives by volunteering to share their personal experiences with HIV on the website, and make public appearances at community-based organizations, HIV support groups and public meetings, Aronson said. They hope that by sharing their stories, they will show others that HIV positive individuals can overcome personal challenges and take HIV prevention seriously, he said.

The "HIV Stops With Me" campaign was developed by Better World Advertising, a San Francisco-based social marketing firm.

For additional information about HIV/AIDS, please go to www.HIVStopsWithMe.org, or call the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services HIV/STD program at (907) 269-8055.



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