Today the White House teams up with Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a $45 million campaign to raise awareness on AIDS, an issue the President has spoken passionately about for years. This marks the first federally funded national domestic HIV/AIDS campaign in almost twenty years. Jeffrey S. Crowley, Director of Office of National AIDS Policy, will join Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, leading civil rights and HIV/AIDS groups, and officials from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation to announce the first phase of the campaign. Rebecca Adelman of HHS live-blogs the event below.
Watch the event streamed live at AIDS.gov. [UPDATE: The event has now concluded.]
Ed. Note: Visit the new website, CDC.gov/NineandaHalfMinutes, to learn more about the realities of the epidemic, how to prevent it, how to live with it, and what you can do to help.
Jeff Crowley is wrapping up the event by thanking the speakers, the 14 partner organizations, and particularly the Kaiser Family Foundation which is also joining with the CDC to build the national media campaign.
1:51: Jesse Milan says today he is celebrating the renewed committment by the federal government to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As someone who has lived with HIV for more than 25 years, he tells the assembled group he still feels regret about what he did not know when he was infected. Milan says that today he celebrates the lives that will be saved by this educational campaign.
1:41: Dorothy Height, Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, thanks the President, Mrs. Obama, and the 14 national African-American organizations who are going to deliver this important message. This effort will "take all of us," she says. She stresses that we need to talk about the threat of HIV/AIDS as we talk about jobs, housing and civil rights. Height concludes by saying that we are all ready to bring the full strength of the movement to this campaign.
1:30: Dr. Kevin Fenton with the CDC is now presenting the campaign materials to the group, which include video, audio, print and online messages in English and Spanish. He notes that the first phase of this campaign will encourage HIV testing within the African-American population. The next phase will target gay and bisexual men and women, and future phases will focus specifically on the Latino community and other high risk groups.
1:13: Melody Barnes welcomes the group of over 100 advocates and partner organizations. She says that President Obama has often discussed that we don't talk about the threat of HIV/AIDS enough in our schools and communities. This new campaign will incorporate community groups - national African-American groups in particular - to educate populations most at risk. She is particularly highlighting the involvement and support of the faith community in this new campaign.
1:05: It's a full house at the Executive Office building as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is about to announce the first domestic HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in over a decade. Jeff Crowley opens the forum with a somber statistic: that every nine and a half minutes someone is infected with HIV in the United States. He says the "Act Against AIDS" campaign being announced today will direct Americans "to get the facts" about this serious epidemic within our own country that has been below the radar in recent years. Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes is up to speak next.