State Health Launches "HIV STOPS WITH ME" Campaign

ALBANY, June 22, 2007 — State Health Commissioner Richard Daines, M.D., today announced the expansion of the "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign. The campaign is unique in that it uses real New Yorkers living with AIDS to convey important messages about HIV prevention and improving the health of infected individuals.

Originally launched in New York in 2005, the "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign has been a highly successful education and public awareness campaign. Phase II of the campaign will begin on June 22nd and will run for approximately one year.

"I remember those early years of the HIV epidemic, while practicing at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, when it seemed that I diagnosed a new case of AIDS every day," said Dr. Daines. "I want to ensure that we are doing all that is possible to prevent more New Yorkers from becoming infected."

"Utilizing actual HIV positive New Yorkers as spokesmodels resonates well with the campaign's targeted audience," Commissioner Daines said. "These individuals were selected based on their diversity and commitment to promoting the prevention of the HIV virus through a positive message. They are, in fact, the true faces of HIV."

The campaign has three major goals:

  • To empower people living with HIV to become active participants in the effort to stop the epidemic and decrease transmission;
  • To link HIV-positive people with care and services; and
  • To increase the self-esteem of HIV-positive people, which will lead them to have more concern for their health and staying well.

The "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign will reduce the stigma of HIV and prove that HIV-positive people are responsible, productive leaders in HIV prevention.

The "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign particularly targets men having sex with men and women of color.

The campaign consists of 11 spokesmodels from both metropolitan New York City and the Buffalo area. Seven of the spokesmodels reside in the City and three are Buffalo residents. All the spokesmodels have volunteered to have their faces and stories appear as part of the campaign. The campaign will be featured on bus, subway and transit advertisements in New York City, Buffalo and Long Island. In addition, their likenesses and testimonials will appear on posters, postcards, handouts and in publications.

Each spokesmodel has demonstrated a strong commitment in their personal lives to HIV prevention and their messages reflect this. The spokesmodels will make public appearances at corrections and community-based organizations, HIV support groups and public meetings to share their personal life stories to portray HIV-positive people as responsible, productive people who are leaders in HIV prevention efforts.

The campaign materials include slogans such as: "I believe in staying healthy," "I believe in responsibility," and "I believe in being here for my family." The materials promote the Web site www.hivstopswithme.org and a toll-free 1-800-541-AIDS services referral number.

The State Health Department urges individuals to get tested for HIV if they:

  • Had unprotected sex, especially with someone who has injected drugs;
  • Shared needles for drug use, body piercing or tattooing;
  • Had a sexually transmitted disease (STD); and/or,
  • Have engaged in sex with multiple partners.

Created in 1999 by Better World Advertising, a San Francisco based marketing firm, the "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign has been implemented in Boston, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, Orange County (CA), West Hollywood, Oregon and Seattle.

Dr. Daines was joined at today's event by Buffalo spokesmodels Al, Darlene and Natalie, and New York City spokesmodels Annette, Morris, Luna, Martha, Delano, Haynes, Linda and Debra. Also attending were, Blayne Cutler, M.D. Ph.D., NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Director of HIV Prevention and Margorie Hill, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Gay Men's Health Crisis.

To inquire about booking a campaign spokesmodel or to get involved with the "HIV STOPS WITH ME" campaign, please contact either Ileene Mills Yashpeh (212) 417-4614 or William Karchner (518) 473-2300 of the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute.

For additional information about HIV/AIDS, please go to www.hivstopswithme.org, or call the New York State HIV/AIDS Hotline at 1-800-541-AIDS,

Spanish - 1-800-233-SIDA, Deaf/TDD - 1-800-369-AIDS, or New York City HIV/AIDS Hotline 1-800-TALKHIV. Photo–quality reproductions of the campaign posters are available at www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2007/docs/hiv_stops_with_me.pdf. (PDF, 2.7MB, 11pg.)