What Do You Know About HIV?
25 years into the AIDS epidemic which has killed so many people you would think that Americans would know the basics about the disease right? That is among the questions that drove my friend filmmaker Eric Leven to take to the streets of NYC with his video camera to find out what New Yorkers know and don’t know about HIV.
I found the results initially to be shocking, but on second thought they are actually not that shocking at all. HIV prevention campaigns have always been designed with the usual do-gooder concern for being politically correct and not offending anyone rather than designed using the hardcore marketing tactics used sell us everything from alcohol and Big Macs to iPods and $250 jeans.
Think about it for a moment. Can you recite the ingredients of a Big Mac using the commercial jingle from a few years back or name that iPhone commercial tune from hearing just five bars?
Instead of HIV prevention campaigns that utilize the same techniques that sells millions of movie tickets in a single weekend, we get increased governmental funding for abstinence-only programs that have been proven multiple times to be ineffective. We know that abstinence until marriage programs don’t work and are particularly useless for LGBT youth and yet because of the vocal bleating of conservative hypocrites who can’t seem to keep their pants up they are a major component of our government’s anti-HIV strategy.
Eric’s video points out just how much work remains to be done in education Americans about HIV even in the city that has been hardest hit by the disease.