2021 marked 40 years since the first five cases of what later became known as AIDS were officially reported. Since then, more than 36 million people worldwide have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
Today, the tools are available to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. At the same time, certain populations continue to bear most of the burden due to persistent healthcare inequities and barriers including the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC and the Latinx community. Culturally competent HIV/AIDS education continues to be one of the cornerstones of battling this 40-year long epidemic.
The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Somerset, the first hospital in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQIA community, offers preventative measures to help New Jersey residents reduce their risk of contracting HIV, including Pre-exposure Prophylactics (PrEP) and Postexposure Prophylaxis (PEP) counseling.
In the lead up to World AIDS 2021, the R&J healthcare team conducted media outreach leveraging our extensive media relationships across the New Jersey media market to raise awareness of the continued need for HIV/AIDS education and the important role testing plays in further curbing this epidemic. The R&J team secured interviews for Shayne Judge, PrEP Counselor at the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at RWJUH Somerset, with NJ Spotlight News and 88.3 WBGO as well as coverage highlighting a free HIV testing event at RWJUH Rahway with News12 NJ and WMBC. Through R&J’s proven media relations method, RWJBarnabas Health was positioned as a leader in the continued fight against HIV and AIDS.