Last week, AIDS.gov hosted a Webinar for bloggers in advance of National HIV Testing Day (on June 27). We reached out to bloggers for this event because so many people today depend on bloggers for their news, information, and opinions.
Who participated in the Webinar?
Participants included bloggers who blog about health-related topics and/or those who reach communities infected, affected, or at highest risk for HIV. Several of our Federal colleagues also attended the Webinar. Timothy Harrison from HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy was the moderator, and Dr. Bernie Branson from the CDC, Dr. Celia Maxwell from Howard University Hospital, and Mr. Andre Blackman from the Pulse & Signal Blog presented and answered questions from bloggers. How can bloggers help promote National HIV Testing Day?
- Take an HIV test and then blog about it.
- Promote web badges on your blog that link people to the KNOWIT HIV testing text messaging campaign.
- Promote the HIV testing PPSAs we blogged about last week and mentioned during the Webinar.
- Link to the Webinar transcript.
- Host or attend a local event for National HIV Testing Day and blog about it.
What HIV testing messages were heard on the Webinar?
- Some of the biggest barriers to getting tested for HIV include: stigma, fear of the results, perception of not being at-risk, and assuming their healthcare provider has already tested them.
- Getting an HIV test can be quick and painless! As Dr. Maxwell told us, “results can be given to the person in as little as 20 minutes. It involves a swab of the inner lining of the mouth.”
- The HIV epidemic is disproportionately impacting African Americans and men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Branson shared that “49 percent of all reported cases of AIDS in the United States occur among African Americans who represent only 12 percent of the population.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for a test. Dr. Maxwell said, “I often say to patients this is really no different than getting your Pap smear if you’re a woman…or knowing your cholesterol. This is part of being well!”
- If you test positive for HIV, treatment and care are available which may help improve your health and protect your partners. To learn more about living with HIV please visit the “treatment and care” section on AIDS.gov.
What did bloggers ask about?
During the Webinar, we answered live questions from bloggers–check out the transcript. Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the questions during the Webinar, so we’ve responded to additional questions here.
What’s up next?
In closing, the AIDS.gov team wants to thank all the participants, speakers, and organizers that made this Webinar possible! We also encourage you to help spread the word about National HIV Testing Day on June 27.
Next week we’ll be returning to our series on virtual worlds…stay tuned!!