get REAL...get CARE Public Awareness campaign
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get REAL get CARE is the newest series of public service announcements from the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The goals of the campaign target the following individuals:
- People living with HIV and AIDS
- People who are HIV positive but not aware of their status
- Support persons to those living with HIV and AIDS (partners, family, friends etc.).
- Organizations that provide HIV and AIDS services
The aim of this campaign is to:
- keep people healthy who are living with HIV or AIDS
- prevent people from progressing from HIV to AIDS
- keep people who are HIV negative- negative
- provide and make known readily accessible resources throughout communities;
- while in care those living with the virus decrease their viral load therefore decreasing the community viral load in order to decrease potential transmissions.
Some statistical information about HIV
For the past five years (2005-2009) there has been a 24% decrease in the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections (from 1,361 in 2005 to 1,092 in 2009). In contrast, there has been a 16% increase in the number of newly diagnosed HIV infections among those ages 13-29 (from 357 in 2005 to 425 in 2009). In fact, of the 425 newly diagnosed HIV infections among 13-24 years old:
- 83% were males (females 17%)
- 64% were Black (White 17%, Hispanic 15% and Others 4%)
So why the disparities?
- Some HIV positive people (while reported to CDPH) may not have actually received a confirmation of their status. This is usually due to persons leaving false or incorrect contact information with testing sites.
- Many persons drop out of care due to incarceration, change in living environments or untreated substance abuse and/or mental illness.
Why is it important to get REAL…get CARE?
Receiving and retaining medical care and information is vital to improving and maintaining quality of life for HIV positive individuals. As persons diagnosed are likely to receive HAART therapy, successful treatment reduces individual and community viral load thus preventing AIDS related illnesses and new infections among others.
Lastly, but equally important, organizations that serve the community are charged with linkage, referral and retention of HIV positive persons. It is imperative that providers empower people who are negative to remain negative and support those they know living with the virus. For people living with HIV, service providers must assure the person receiving care is fully involved as a partner in their own treatment.