Thursday, October 21, 2010

Help People with HIV and Win a Cruise for Two!

Isn’t it inspiring when you help others who are in need?  Just knowing that your contribution – whether monetary or not – provided supports or services to the underserved in our communities is uplifting.  Equally uplifting is supporting efforts to educate others about important issues impacting local communities.
At the same time, wouldn’t it be great to “get away” from the hustle-and-bustle of the crazy work week and everyday responsibilities at home?
Well, why not kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes!
But your chance to win an exotic vacation cruise and support people living with HIV/AIDS is running out! 
The Flowers Heritage Foundation (“FHF”) is offering a chance to win a 7 Day Cruise for two, for everyone who purchases a $50.00 raffle ticket – with the proceeds going to helps them provide emergency HIV/AIDS medicine to underserved PLWA and provide HIV/AIDS education and awareness to high school students through our innovative art program.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FHF is committed to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, specifically by offering educational resources in underserved communities and linking people living with HIV/AIDS to the treatment options that keep them healthy, productive members of their communities.  FHF’s efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are symbolized in its “Don't Turn Your Back on AIDS™” (DTYBOA) program, which is only part of the organization’s dedication to addressing health issues that improve the lives of the underserved through collaboration, outreach and education.
Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ Awareness Art Competition provides an interactive environment orientation where high school students learn imperative information regarding HIV risks and prevention in the classroom through a 28-minute DVD. Students creatively interpret their views and artistically express themselves under their art teachers’ instruction. Consequently, their awareness is increased about contracting HIV and their risk behaviors are reduced.
Why is this competition important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”), “young people in the United States are at persistent risk for HIV infection. This risk is especially notable for youth of minority races and ethnicities. Continual HIV prevention outreach and education efforts, including programs on abstinence and on delaying the initiation of sex, are required as new generations replace the generations that benefited from earlier prevention strategies.”[1]
The underlying currant behind HIV-infection rates reveals the need for new, innovative prevention strategies targeting youth and young adults.  The following is based on data from the 35 areas with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting[2]:
  • An estimated 4,883 young people received a diagnosis of HIV infection or AIDS, representing about 13% of the persons given a diagnosis during that year.[3]
  • African Americans were disproportionately affected by HIV infection; accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13–24.[4]
  • Young men who have sex with men (MSM), especially those of minority races or ethnicities, were at high risk for HIV infection. In the 7 cities that participated in CDC’s Young Men’s Survey during 1994–1998, 14% of African American MSM and 7% of Hispanic MSM aged 15–22 were infected with HIV.[5]
  • During 2001–2004, in the 33 states with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting, 62% of the 17,824 persons 13–24 years of age given a diagnoses of HIV/AIDS were males, and 38% were females.
The data speaks for itself.  The current HIV-prevention strategies are failing American teens and young adults because they are marred in an outdated model from the 1990s; it has demonstrated a diminishing effect on Generation Xers and younger.  According to the CDC, in 2006 young adults represented 4.4 percent, or approximately 48,400, of the 1.1 million people living with HIV infection.  Equally alarming is that nearly 50 percent of HIV-positive American teens and young adults don't know they are infected, which amounts to 9.9 percent – 23,000 youths – of the total 232,700 people living in the United States who are unaware of their status.[6] 
The CDC estimated by using data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that only 22 percent of sexually-active high school students got tested for HIV in 2007.  Yet, students who had learned in school about the human immunodeficiency virus were more likely to get tested for HIV.[7]
The CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all people 13-64 years old to decrease the number of undiagnosed infections and the spread of new infections.  According to the CDC, “the adoption of voluntary HIV screening in health care settings will help health care workers identify persons with previously unrecognized HIV infection and link them to clinical and prevention services, and further reduces sexual and perinatal transmission of HIV in the United States.”[8]
It is not surprising that “Lack of Awareness” continues to be identified by the CDC, and others, is a leading causes of HIV infection among young people in the United States.[9]
The Kaiser Family Foundation's National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, a nationally representative survey of teens ages 12-17, assessed attitudes and knowledge about the epidemic among a generation at risk. The survey, which remains widely considered groundbreaking in its assessment of youth attitudes toward HIV infection, documents teen perspectives about the impact of the epidemic on young people and their own personal concern about becoming infected. It also includes findings about where teens get their information about HIV/AIDS, their information needs, and attitudes toward HIV testing. Key findings include: greater levels of concern expressed by minority teens; many teens would not know where to go get tested for HIV; and teens want more information about HIV/AIDS.[10]
So, FHF is taking a stand against AIDS and offering an innovative solution, whereby linking youth and young adults with an opportunity to educate one another about HIV/AIDS prevention.  Don’t Turn Your Back on AIDS™ is a worthwhile initiative.
Enter by December 15, 2010 and be eligible to win a 7 day cruise from Norwegian Cruise Lines to any where they go (Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican Rivera, Canada/New England, and Bahamas/Florida).  But even better, by entering to win you’re actually supporting a worthy cause.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile program.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at

[1] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[2] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[3] CDC, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 2004. Vol. 16. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC: 2005:1–46.
[4] CDC. HIV Prevention in the Third Decade. Atlanta: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2005.
[6] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[7] CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 26, 2009.
[8] CDC, Questions and Answers for Professional Partners: Revised Recommendations for HIV Testing of Adults, Adolescents and Pregnant Women in Healthcare Settings, August 22, 2008.
[9] CDC, HIV/AIDS Among Youth, August 3, 2008.
[10] The Kaiser Family Foundation, National Survey of Teens on HIV/AIDS 2000, November 16, 2000.

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