Celebs, city council speaker to push AIDS awareness campaign
As infection rates from HIV/AIDS among young people continue to rise, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and hundreds of celebrities, community leaders and others are launching a multi-media campaign Tuesday aimed at reminding people that the disease is far from conquered.
Timed to coincide with World AIDS Day, the project to be unveiled Tuesday includes a YouTube channel as well as Facebook and Twitter campaigns meant to reach an audience that has few, if any, memories of the devastation caused by AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s.
“Part of the problem is that people are not talking about HIV/AIDS as much,” Quinn said Monday.In the videos, which organizers hope will number about 400 when the project is complete next year, participants talk about how to prevent the spread of the disease. The videos are posted on youtube.com/italkbecause.
According to city records, infections among people 20-29 years old and among gay men have been steadily increasing this decade, a trend many attribute in part to a perception that the disease is not that dangerous.
“There’s a lot of complacency around HIV, a lot of mythology,” said Marjorie Hill, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Howard Haughton, a social worker at Village Care's Community Case Management, said many of his clients underestimate the problem.
“All they’re aware of is you can take a pill a day and you’re fine. But they don’t get the message that sometimes you can’t take that pill,” he said.
In addition to Quinn, actors Rosie Perez, Alan Cumming and Kristen Johnston, as well as Cyndi Lauper and talk show host Wendy Williams have recorded short videos.