Awareness Campaign On HIV/AIDS Begins

The Obama administration began a five-year, $45 million media blitz last week to spark awareness about HIV infection and AIDS, saying that Americans have grown complacent about the deadly illness even though it represents “a serious threat to the health of our nation.”

The campaign, Act Against AIDS, will include public service announcements, advertising on trains, buses and other modes of public transportation, text messages and a Web site, www.NineAndaHalfMinutes.org, a reference to the frequency with which people are infected.

“There is a complacency . . . a false sense of security and a false sense of calm,” said Kevin Fenton, director of the national center for HIV/AIDS at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Every 9 1/2 minutes, someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s father, someone’s friend is infected.”

Fenton said the aim of campaign, at a cost of $9 million a year, “is to put the HIV epidemic back on the front burner, on the radar screen.”

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