Young americans are challenged to "be the generation" that ends the AIDS epidemic.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, recently announced the launch of the "Be The Generation" public awareness campaign, challenging young Americans to be the generation that ends AIDS through the discovery of a safe and effective preventive HIV vaccine.
Using multi-generational pairs of individuals, the awareness ads compare major social issues such as civil rights with the search to end the AIDS epidemic. The campaign challenges this generation to become involved in changing the world as the generations before them did. The first step is to make a concerted effort to overcome a general lack of knowledge about HIV vaccine research in order to recruit diverse populations into clinical trials that will determine whether vaccine candidates in development might benefit this and future generations.
The campaign was launched with a television commercial airing in 14 U.S. cities where HIV vaccine research is taking place (including Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Providence, Rochester, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.). The ad, aimed at educating Americans about preventive HIV vaccine research, will run for six weeks in these target markets and began in October. The ads also can be viewed on the affiliated Web site, be the generation. The TV and Web outreach will be supplemented by a community toolkit, and partnerships between the campaign, community-based organizations and HIV vaccine research institutions.
Research conducted over the past five years shows that public awareness and understanding of HIV vaccine research is very low. For instance, only 25 percent of Americans surveyed were aware that HIV vaccines being tested cannot cause HIV infection. In addition, misperceptions and fear related to clinical research and the use of an HIV vaccine are widespread, particularly among African Americans, the population most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS in the United States. Left unchecked, these misperceptions can make trial recruitment more difficult, delay clinical research and undermine education efforts and eventual use of a preventive vaccine. You can take a quiz on the new site and test your knowledge about preventive HIV vaccine research.
Through this focused public education campaign, the hope is to engage communities to help pave the way to a preventive HIV vaccine by raising awareness, expanding understanding of HIV vaccine clinical trials and, ultimately, increasing trial participation.
The "Be The Generation" campaign materials include posters, brochures, detailed fact sheets and mini fact sheets. The materials are tailored to the four U.S. audiences most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, women, and men who have sex with men.