Newspaper group vows to engage blacks in HIV fight

'We are at a crossroads.'

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) has joined a cooperative effort using enhanced media coverage to re-engage African Americans in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

NNPA will partner with the Greater Than AIDS (GTA) initiative and the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) on the campaign.

Educating the African-American community about HIV "has never been more important than it is today," says Dorothy Leavell, chair of the NNPA Foundation board of directors and publisher of the Chicago and Gary, Ind., Crusader newspapers. "We have a lot to do. This epidemic is not over and we all have to redouble our efforts."

NNPA represents 200 member newspapers reaching more than 15 million readers. The historic partnership will see weekly coverage of HIV/AIDS in black newspapers across the country. In addition, public service announcements and public forums on the epidemic's impact on African Americans are planned for each of NNPA's five regions.

"We are at a crossroads. This is our best chance yet for ending the AIDS epidemic. The NNPA is uniquely positioned to mobilize black communities all across this nation," says Phill Wilson, BAI's founder and CEO. "We need to use the infrastructure we have to mobilize black people to be engaged in the design and implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and the black press is one of the few institutions in black America that can accomplish that."

"With this partnership, the black press will create opportunities to engage the whole of black America in a conversation about HIV and AIDS in a way that no other institution in our community can," Wilson adds.

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