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New Commitments Respond to AIDS in America, Including:
On the eve of World AIDS Day (December 1st), Greater Than AIDS, a national movement supported by a broad coalition of public and private sector partners, announced significant new commitments in response to the AIDS crisis in America with a focus on those most affected by the disease. New commitments from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Walgreens are added to those made by leading media, state and local health departments, community organizations, among others to increase knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma that surrounds the disease.
“From the largest digital billboard in Times Square to the hardwood courts of the NBA and the WNBA, Greater Than AIDS partners are showing new leadership in stemming the spread of HIV,” said Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which provides strategic guidance and day-to-day management for Greater Than AIDS. He added, “This is an unprecedented collaboration of private and public sector partners united in response to a public health challenge.”
Phill Wilson, President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, co-founding Greater Than AIDS partner, commented, “Nearly 30 years since the first case of HIV was diagnosed, stigma remains a major barrier to prevention and treatment. Greater Than AIDS is about bringing us together as a community in a unified response.” On December 1st in Los Angeles, the Black AIDS Institute will host its 10th annual Heroes in the Struggle gala themed this year around Greater Than AIDS.
Among the announcements from Greater Than AIDS today:
The campaign includes new television and radio public service ads (PSAs) featuring NBA/WNBA players, including Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx), whose father, former professional baseball player Alan Wiggins, died of AIDS in 1991. The PSAs, which debut across NBA media assets and other Greater Than AIDS media platforms this month, direct to a custom web portal for resources and more information at: http://www.greaterthan.org/nba
In addition, Greater Than AIDS is working with NBA teams across the league to initiate targeted activations, community events, and special “Greater Than AIDS” in-arena nights to bring attention to HIV/AIDS in priority markets, tipping off with a World AIDS Day game in Boston, where the Celtics will host the Portland Trailblazers. Additional team activations are scheduled in December and January.
“Joining with the Greater Than AIDS campaign underscores the NBA family’s longstanding commitment to address important social issues related to health and wellness,” said NBA Community Relations Vice President Todd Jacobson. “The league supports the fight against HIV/AIDS year-round in a variety of ways, including bringing awareness programs to youth from more than 100 countries and territories around the world, and we look forward to continuing these efforts around World AIDS Day.”
“We’re excited to partner with Greater Than AIDS to place more attention on the domestic AIDS crisis and slow the spread of this disease,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “At more than 200 locations around the country, our pharmacists are specially trained to care for patients with HIV. These locations also will play a large role in our effort with Greater Than AIDS to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.”
The Walgreens/Greater Than AIDS partnership kicks off with a World AIDS Day promotion at the Walgreens drugstore at One Times Square in New York City, including HIV messaging on the store’s digital billboard — the nation’s largest — that rises 341 feet above midtown Manhattan. At other times throughout the year, Walgreens’ digital billboards in Times Square and Las Vegas will post photos submitted by every day Americans that celebrate personal “deciding moments” in response to HIV/AIDS. Today, more than 200 Walgreens drugstores across America are debuting new signage and informational materials that carry a Greater Than AIDS message that will run throughout the month. All products encourage customers to learn more about HIV and ways they can be Greater than AIDS at: http://www.greaterthan.org/walgreens
The addition of television partners provides a powerful new platform to reinforce campaign messages and mobilize communities. The campaign’s new TV PSAs complement an extensive outdoor, print and radio campaign that features individuals — including several who are living with the disease — sharing personal “Deciding Moments” that capture everyday opportunities to take a stand against HIV — to be “greater than” the disease. Since the campaign launched in September, thousands of Americans have been inspired to share their own “Deciding Moments” on the campaign’s website: http://www.greaterthan.org/decidingmoments.
Across the country, dozens of major community organizations are incorporating Greater Than AIDS into their World AIDS Day activities. Some examples include: Howard University, University of Miami and University of Florida are hosting Greater Than AIDS events on campus with speakers from the “Deciding Moments” campaign and outreach materials to promote HIV testing. Houses of worship are also hosting testing events and delivering HIV awareness sermons, including Greater Than AIDS outreach materials in church bulletins and interfaith memorial gatherings in Raleigh, North Carolina and Philadelphia. MetroTeenAIDS, a major provider of HIV services in Washington, D.C., is using Greater Than AIDS materials for giveaways at their “Party for Prevention.” These local outreach efforts — and dozens more across America — reach audiences with face to face interventions, deepening the impact of the media messaging.
Next year marks 30 years since the first case of HIV was diagnosed. More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today, and at least half a million more have died of AIDS. One in two of those infected with HIV today are Black Americans far surpassing any other racial or ethnic group. Men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races represent the most heavily affected group, and the only population for which HIV rates are on the rise again. HIV/AIDS is a deeply personal issue with 43 percent of all Americans today — and nearly 60 percent of Black Americans — now knowing someone who is living with or has died from the disease, for many a family member or close friend, according to a national survey on HIV/AIDS conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.HIV/AIDS is both preventable and treatable — early diagnosis and care helps those with the disease live longer and healthier lives. Yet, one in five Americans living with HIV today does not know it. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) identifies stigma as a major contributor to the spread of HIV, keeping people from seeking information, speaking openly, using protection, getting tested and treated and otherwise acting to protect themselves and those they love.
About Greater Than AIDS
Greater Than AIDS is an unprecedented collaboration among a broad coalition of public and private sector partners united in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States, in particular among Black Americans and other disproportionately affected groups. Through a national media campaign and targeted community outreach, Greater Than AIDS aims to increase knowledge and understanding about HIV/AIDS and confront the stigma surrounding the disease. http://www.greaterthan.org
The Kaiser Family Foundation — a leader in health policy and communications — provides strategic direction and day-to-day management, as well as oversees the production of the media campaign. The Black AIDS Institute — a think tank exclusively focused on AIDS in Black America — provides leadership and expert guidance and directs community engagement. Greater Than AIDS is developed in support of Act Against AIDS, an effort by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refocus attention on the domestic epidemic. Additional, financial and substantive support is provided by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Ford Foundation and MAC AIDS Fund, among others.