Alameda County Supervisors Approve Second Stage of AIDS Prevention Campaign
In a 4-1 vote, Alameda County supervisors recently approved the second phase of a "controversial marketing campaign" urging residents to get tested for HIV, the Oakland Tribune reports. While the first phase of the campaign, created by Hill & Company Communications Inc., primarily targeted the county's African-American community, the new campaign will be aimed at gay and bisexual Hispanic men and intravenous drug users. According to county Public Health Department spokesperson Sherri Willis, African Americans represent only 17% of the population but accounted for 71% of those testing positive for HIV in 1997. In addition, Willis said that between 1991 and 1996, AIDS cases among Hispanic men who have sex with men increased 5.9%, compared to an 8.3% decline in AIDS cases among all other men who contracted the disease through same-sex encounters. Last year's controversial ads depicted images of "two unclothed men lying together with a condom nearby, young people hanging out by Lake Merritt and a man holding hands with another man while his arm is around a woman." This year, the county will distribute the preventive materials, including condom covers, postcards and posters, to select locations such as gay bars, where they will not be "widely viewed by the general public" (Horowitz, Oakland Tribune, 1/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.