New HIV Testing Ad Campaign to Launch Soon

UnknownCampaign_AfrAmThe AIDS Institute is pleased to announce a new statewide media campaign to promote HIV testing.

The campaign message is:

Worst HIV Status: Unknown

Not testing leaves you in the dark.  Testing puts you in control.

The campaign includes materials in English and Spanish.  Key messages encourage people to talk with their health care provider about HIV testing and the campaign includes a link to the CDC HIV testing locator (  to help people find community-based testing options.

This campaign, developed in conjunction with Better World Advertising, will begin sometime in December or January and will feature the following:

  • Various digital ads and use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Google ads and others
  • Convenience store, hair/nail salon and bar ads
  • Transit ads, including bus shelters and subway ads
  • Other media

The campaign website, which is now active, is  The Spanish language website can be accessed by clicking on En Espanol at the top of the site.

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2 Responses to “New HIV Testing Ad Campaign to Launch Soon”

  1. betty aberlin says:

    I saw this ad, larger than life, outside the COUNTRY STORE where I get my gas. please tell me you have other ethnicities in this campaign.

    I consider it extremely racist.

    • J. at HVCS says:

      Hello Betty, thanks for your comment. The New York State Department of Health, which authored this campaign (not HVCS), generated many different images for use in this campaign when it debuted back in December. The images, when taken collectively, represented a wide range of people who happened to correspond to the different groups who are at highest risk for new HIV infection: African-Americans of both genders, Hispanics of both genders, male-male couples (to indicate the high risk of HIV infection for men who have sex with men). For this very short announcement on our blog, we chose one image, but one image that represents the highest risk factor for HIV infection in the Hudson Valley: African-Americans make up 39% of new HIV cases but account for only 11% of the area’s population. That is a huge disparity that we feel is very unfair. For contrast, Hispanics make up 26% of new HIV infections and only 18% of the general population–another disparity. Research repeatedly shows that public health awareness campaigns work best when the target audience sees itself in the ads and identifies with it–hence the NYSDOH’s use of several different images. While I’m not sure which part of this you think is racist (the campaign ad you saw in person, or this image on our website), there are elements of the HIV epidemic that are definitely worsened by the long history of racism in this country. HVCS has always championed communities who are disenfranchised and need someone to help them find a voice within the system. We do what we can to expose problems in the system while offering as much help as we can to people affected by those problems.

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