Examining Link Between Non-Injection Drugs And HIV

Armen Hareyan's picture
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National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) marks World AIDS Day on December 1st with the launch of its new, national public service campaign to educate Hispanic teens on the link between non-injection drug use and HIV transmission. The campaign features an innovative television spot blending English and Spanish; a Webisode series that will launch soon on www.hiv.drugabuse.gov; outdoor, transit and print placements; community events and partnerships.

The new Hispanic spots, "After the Party," build on an earlier English series, but continue the storyline from the point of view of a teen who used drugs and alcohol, engaged in risky behavior and now has HIV. In the new series, a young woman calls on her aunt for comfort and support. Rather than simply translating the original spots that were launched in 2005, NIDA incorporated culturally relevant scenarios that would resonate with the Hispanic audience -- in this case, turning to family in times of distress. There are two versions of the new series -- one set for Spanish-language television stations and a bilingual set for English-language stations located in markets with large Hispanic populations.

The award-winning Text Message spot, which continues to run on stations across the country, was endorsed by The Ad Council, screened in film festivals, featured in the Dallas Transit system and in Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and aired in Times Square.

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"Drug use and alcohol consumption disrupt the parts of the brain that people use to weigh risks and benefits before making decisions," said NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. "Research has shown that substance use increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual behavior -- such as unprotected sex -- that can lead to HIV. This campaign urges teens to learn more about the risks of risky behavior and drives them to our Website."

Hispanic youth are potentially at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. They currently represent 16 percent of the United States teenage population, but over the next decade this diverse and multicultural group is expected to grow by 25 percent. According to 2005 CDC data, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 18 percent of the 37,367 new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.

Materials for NIDA's Hispanic campaign include bilingual and Spanish television public service ads (PSAs) in 15-, 30- and 60-seconds; Web pages in Spanish on the www.hiv.drugabuse.gov site; English and Spanish print PSAs, promotional cards, posters, and Web banners. This holiday season, the PSA is running on the CBS Super Screen in New York City's Times Square and inside New York City buses that travel through areas with large Hispanic populations.

NIDA also has participated in community-based events and collaborations during the phased rollout of the campaign. The Washington, D.C. Department of Health's HIV/AIDS Administration recently shared NIDA's campaign materials with community partners through its Youth and HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative. NIDA also participated in Fiesta DC on September 30th, and the D.C. Metropolitan National Latino AIDS Awareness Day on October 15th.

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