SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The county of San Diego kicked off a campaign Wednesday to encourage minorities to get tested for the sexually transmitted disease that causes AIDS.
According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, 5,400 residents of the region have tested positive for HIV since 2006. Of those, 14 percent are blacks, who make up 5.5 percent of the population, the agency reported.
Hispanics account for somewhere around 35-40 percent of the new cases, according to the county.
"We are here today to encourage members of the community to take an important step in protecting their health and the health of others," said HHSA Director Nick Macchione. "Knowing your HIV status means you have a key piece of information to take control of your life and discuss yours status."
The eight-month "Know and Disclose" campaign will target Southeast San Diego via billboards, local newspaper ads, transit and bus stop ads, public service announcements and a new website, KnowAndDisclose.com. The campaign will stress that getting a test only takes 20 minutes.
HIV has led to AIDS in nearly 15,000 San Diegans since the early 1980s, according to the HHSA. An agency spokesman said the HHSA was also concerned about national trends of infections for people of color.
Around the country, blacks made up 44 percent of new HIV cases in 2009 despite making up 14 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC's estimated rate of new HIV infection for black men nationally that year was more than six and a half times as high as that of white men, and two and a half times as high as that of Latino men or black women.
The estimated rate of new HIV infections for black women in the U.S. was more than 15 times as high as the rate for white women, and more than three times as high as that of Latina women, the center reported.
The summits of Birch Hill and Palomar Mountain saw a dusting of snow Monday, and other San Diego County mountains and valleys experienced less than a quarter-inch of rain.
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