FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AIDS United launches new HIV campaign for Black women
AIDS United is pleased to announce a new Black women centered Melanated Movement campaign and calls for ambassadors to help finally end HIV.
WASHINGTON — Renowned for being the nation’s leading nonprofit devoted to ending the HIV epidemic, AIDS United has recently taken a powerful step forward in spearheading this vision through the launch of the Melanated Movement. Focused heavily on Black women’s health and accentuating HIV awareness for the Black community as a collective, the Melanated Movement kicked off Feb. 1, 2023, for Black History Month.
The campaign initiative?
To inspire stigma-free perspectives on Black women’s health, optimize access to free HIV testing and ultimately provoke progressive HIV education and health care by sparking the necessary conversations revolving around it today.
“We recognize the importance of community-centered strategies to engage people meaningfully with their health,” said Athena Cross, AIDS United vice president and chief program officer. “We see the need for creating nonjudgmental, non-stigmatizing conversations that put people first and create space for collaborative conversation with both HIV and reproductive justice advocates.”
Black women’s health is an important and ongoing concern, especially regarding HIV awareness and diagnoses. To date, 55% of women living with HIV in the United States are Black. And HIV has rendered the seventh leading cause of death in Black women compared to 18th in white counterparts — an alarming statistic highlighting the urgent need for increased education and awareness around Black women’s health related to HIV. Further compounding this issue, the prioritization of Black women with HIV has been severely lacking, leading to decreased access to vital medical treatments, social services such as food, housing and employment, as well as prevention of intimate partner violence.
Because of this, AIDS United has formed the Melanated Movement to reduce those barriers and promote Black women’s health by providing free education, resources and resources for home testing kits that allow Black women to learn their HIV status quickly and easily. With 87% of adults admitting a stigma still exists around HIV and less than half feeling knowledgeable about it, these measures are essential for progress toward a healthier future for Black women nationwide. This will be accomplished through digital and in-person conversations surrounding HIV prevention, education, care and HIV testing guidance for Black women — both cis and transgender.
The Melanated Movement digital content specifically will be available through a series of livestream events on social media channels owned by AIDS United, featured partners, event participants and influencers beginning Feb. 7 through September 2023. The first livestream event was held on Feb. 7 for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The second live roundtable discussion will be held on Feb. 28 for HIV Is Not a Crime Awareness Day. Viewers can watch all roundtable discussions through a free livestream on all AIDS United social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.
“These sectors have existed in silos for a long time, and we are most excited about the opportunity to unite these voices and support a conversation that is grounded in a whole-person strategy,” said Cross. “We all exist as dynamic, complex individuals, and it’s time we start having sexual health conversations that recognize that.”
AIDS United’s mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. through strategic grant-making, capacity building and policy. AIDS United works to ensure access to life-saving HIV care and prevention services and to advance sound HIV-related policy for populations and communities most impacted by the U.S. epidemic As of January 2021, our strategic grant-making initiatives have directly funded more than $118 million to local communities, and we have leveraged more than $184 million in additional investments for programs that include, but are not limited to, syringe access, access to care, capacity-building, HIV prevention and advocacy.
Monetized accreditation and strong gratitude are sent to ViiV Healthcare’s Risk to Reasons initiative, which rendered the grant to AIDS United to pursue this fundamental cause. With the grant, AIDS United has successfully translated the Melanated Movement blueprints into a tangible reality that will help eliminate stigma and increase HIV awareness and action around HIV prevention/care for Black women. This will be carried out through the development of engaging content, community actions, and harvesting connections with movement advocates across the country that will set the pace for advanced Black community impacts via preventative care, resources, awareness and education.
How You Can Help
The #MelanatedMovement has kicked off a search for influencers and ambassadors to join their mission of raising awareness about Black women’s health in the spring and summer months of 2023. From HIV education and testing guidance, reducing stigma related to HIV to providing red-carpet care for those living with HIV, the movement is covering a lot of ground to increase knowledge about available services and resources. Through shared-value partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and PBIs, the movement aims to spread the word about the need for information on HIV transmission, symptoms, home tests, nearby testing opportunities and treatment options if necessary. AIDS United has made it simple by creating a social media toolkit with assets available on their website’s Melanated Movement landing page — making it easy for supporters to share and help make an impact.
Visit https://aidsunited.org/melanated-movement/ to learn more about upcoming events and resources.