Legendary entertainer Dionne Warwick has released three new public service announcements (PSAs) designed to heighten public awareness about the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on older adults and women over the age of 50, especially African American women. The informational PSAs, which focus on Women and HIV, the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, and Older Adults and HIV, respectively, were released in tandem with ACRIA, a New York City-based national organization internationally renowned for its research, advocacy and education on older adults and youth affected by HIV/AIDS, and marks the five-time Grammy Award winning vocalist’s introduction as a Goodwill Ambassador for the organization.
Ms. Warwick has been a leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS for over 30 years and is among the first celebrities to publicly announce her support for efforts to combat the disease. The PSAs were produced by ACRIA, in collaboration with Double XXposure Media Relations, Inc. and Ascender Communications, Inc. Their release coincides with month-long events commemorating Women’s History Month in March and the March 10th annual observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
“Through the release of these PSAs, I am honored to join forces with ACRIA and thousands of fellow AIDS activists across the country who are renewing efforts to raise awareness, develop public policies, and target funding to support HIV prevention, treatment and care,” said Ms. Warwick. “Despite great progress in scientific research and prevention, HIV continues to exact a heavy toll on communities of color, including adults over the age of 50 and African American women, who are often forgotten in this epidemic.”
“We are honored to welcome Ms. Warwick as a Goodwill Ambassador for ACRIA and recognize her steadfast leadership in the ongoing fight against HIV/AIDS,” said Benjamin Bashein, ACRIA’s Executive Director. “Ms. Warwick embraced HIV/AIDS activism at a time when stigma against the disease was at its worst, when most public figures refused to associate their names and celebrity to the cause. We are truly excited about her participation in our work to educate millions of Americans, anew, about HIV, and by so doing, prevent its transmission.”
According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2 million Americans are estimated to be living with HIV as of 2015 and 50% are estimated to be over the age of 50. By 2020, that number will rise to 70%. Although many older adults do not believe that they are susceptible to HIV or any other sexually transmitted infection, one in 6 new cases of HIV infection occurs in people over 50 years old. Older adults are also less likely to get tested for HIV than younger adults.
Women account for almost 20% of the estimated 45,000 new HIV infection cases that occur each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Women also account for 25% of the estimated 21,000 AIDS diagnoses in 2014. Among all women diagnosed with HIV in 2014, an estimated 62% were among African American women.
To view Ms. Warwick’s PSA, “Women and HIV/AIDS,” click on or copy and paste this link in your browser – https://youtu.be/8GOKkCjTGjo