BEHIV partners with NBC-5 for "Color of AIDS" series

Mon. February 8, 2010 12:00 AM by News Staff

Series will Highlight the Impact of HIV/AIDS on Minority Communities

Chicago, IL - Better Existence with HIV (BEHIV) is partnering with NBC-5 Chicago (WMAQ) on the "Color of AIDS" series, highlighting the impact of HIV/AIDS on Chicago's minority communities.

The campaign kicks off on Sunday February 7, 2010, National Black HIV Awareness Day and will feature a series of special reports and a fundraiser for local agencies that assist HIV/AIDS victims.

"We are excited about this opportunity to shed light on an issue that is often overlooked but affects such a large number of people in our community" said Chris Pena, Assistant News Director.

NBC-5 approached BEHIV for assistance in recruiting series participants, who could discuss their personal experiences dealing with the virus, medical complications, the stigma that still exists around a HIV+ diagnosis and the impact that a diagnosis has on relationships with family and other loved ones.

"We are extremely proud to work with NBC-5 on this project. Infection rates in communities of color continue to rise and there is far too little discussion of issues relating to HIV and AIDS," said BEHIV Executive Director Eric Nelson. "There needs to be more open and honest dialogue about risk factors, getting tested to know one's status and the consequences of a diagnosis. We hope this series will help facilitate this dialogue."

A 2007 Centers for Disease Control report shows African-Americans and Latino communities are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. Blacks accounted for 49% of all reported diagnosis nationwide, and Latino's accounted for 19%. Women of color are especially affected. The same report shows the rate of AIDS diagnoses for black women was 22 times the rate for white women. The rate for Hispanic/Latino women was five times that of their white counterparts.

"This is something many people don't talk about. HIV/AIDS does not get the attention it used to and it certainly isn't covered in communities of color. It's not a subject that is easily accepted at home, church or school but conversations about education and prevention need to be happening" said NBC-5 news anchor Zoraida Sambolin. "We want to be a catalyst in helping people start those important discussions"

The "Color of AIDS" series will run on NBC-5's 5:00am and 5:00pm newscasts February 8-12. The series will culminate with a public fundraising event Friday, February 12, benefiting BEHIV and other organizations that provide testing, counseling and services for people infected with, or at high risk for infection by, HIV.