HIV/AIDS EDUCATION: State Promotes Safe Sex With Phone Cards
The California Department of Health Services Office of AIDS will launch the first-ever long distance calling card campaign aimed at reducing the spread of HIV. The state will distribute 50,000 free 10-minute calling cards, which play an AIDS prevention message encouraging condom use when the card is inserted into the pay phone. "Despite the recent drop in AIDS deaths, the incidence of HIV infection among the populations we are targeting with this campaign has not declined," said State Health Director Kim Belshe (release, 3/19). As a result, the state has launched a widespread effort, of which this initiative is a part, to arrest the spread of AIDS among high-risk groups. The San Francisco Examiner reports that the "$50,000 program is part of a three-year, $7.8 million 'social-marketing' campaign" aimed at "young gay, bisexual or drug-using men, particularly African Americans and Latinos." Robert Perez, of San Francisco's STOP AIDS Program, said, "It is an innovative way to reach people where they are, when they're not ready for more sensitive information." The state will draw on the resources of community groups to distribute the cards at "nightclubs, bars, street hangouts, cruising areas and sex clubs" (Krieger, 3/19). In addition, disc jockeys will give out the cards as part of an on-air promotion (release, 3/19).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.