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Newark "Status Is Everything" Campaign Targets Black Males


Social Marketing Campaign targets African-American males aged 18-24 in Greater Newark region

Newark, NJ - Mayor Cory A. Booker, Municipal Council President Mildred C. Crump, State Department of Health and Senior Services Assistant Commissioner Laurence Ganges, Newark Department of Child and Family Well-Being Ryan White Unit Project Manager Ketlen Alsbrook, African American Office of Gay Concerns Executive Director Gary Paul Wright, Newark  Eligible Metropolitan Area (EMA) HIV Health Services Planning Council Executive Director Dwight Peavy, FEMWORKS Principal and Marketing Director Kimberlee Williams, and other dignitaries launched the “Status is Everything” HIV Prevention and Testing Campaign, in the City Hall Rotunda today.

The social marketing campaign is a partnership between the African American Office of Gay Concerns and the Mayor’s Office’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Commission to use traditional and modern social media to provide 24-hour instant access to local HIV/AIDS testing centers. The campaign will feature traditional large-scale outdoor advertising and cutting-edge interactive functionalities like e-cards, and social media integration on, the campaign’s official website.

“Since my administration took office in 2006, we have taken significant strides to unite create a healthier Newark,” Mayor Booker said.  “Today is another example of a great community partnership which is using 21st-century technology to communicate a simple message to persons at risk: get yourself tested for HIV and AIDS. Only with the health of our residents can we build a stronger, safer, prouder City.”

The campaign will target African-American men in the greater Newark area, aged 18-24, who are most at risk for HIV/AIDS. Persons with cell phones, Blackberries, and similar devices should text ‘New Jersey’ and their zip code to 36363, and will get a response with information about 24-hour instant access to Newark-based testing centers. Residents can also phone the New Jersey HIV/STD hotline at 1-866-HIV-CHECK for information.

“It’s what you don’t know that will kill you. ‘Status Is Everything’ is moving us in the right direction.  In the past, we knew we had to do something, but we just did not know what. Now, with campaigns and efforts like these, we know how to reach residents across our City to encourage residents to get tested.  No longer do we have the ability to sit idly - we must make a difference now,” said Council President Crump.

The Newark EMA’s Ryan White program provides care and treatment to almost 7,000 people, which is approximately 51% of the total infected population throughout the EMA. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program was established by Congress in 1990 through the CARE Act and was last reauthorized in 2009 and renamed the Ryan White Treatment Extension Act. It provides federal funds to metropolitan areas and states to support health care and support services for HIV/AIDS patients who are low-income, uninsured and underinsured. Ryan White is a medical care program but is structured to provide access to a comprehensive array of medical and social services, in order to get people in care (as early as possible) and to keep them there.

“In order to reduce cases of HIV/AIDS, we must optimize health outcomes and no longer tolerate disparities in care. Campaigns such as ‘Status Is Everything’ will increase the number of people that get tested for HIV/AIDS. The African American Office of Gay Concerns is essential to ensure that Newark residents can recognize the important of early identification, intervention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” said Newark Department of Child and Family Well-Being Ryan White Unit Project Manager Ketlen Alsbrook.

“The LGBTQ Commission is excited about this Status Is Everything program. We recognize that knowledge is power, and without efforts such as this, people would not get tested.  This campaign puts a face to an invisible epidemic in Newark and brings the issue to the forefront of the community,” said LGBTQ Commission Chair Darnell Moore.

“I am delighted to be a part of such a historic event here today.  I congratulate the AAOGC on their achievement, and am proud to have the opportunity to participate in this campaign. SIE is an example of knowing how and when to engage ourselves in disseminating this message. Only with our persistence, hard work, and dedication could this be possible,” said EMA HIV Health Services Planning Council Executive Director Dwight Peavy.

“Young people need to speak directly to other young people because they will listen. You can save your life by knowing whether or not you have HIV or AIDS.  This campaign reaches people’s hearts and it the best way to get the message out there. By using social media and new technology, the organizers of this campaign have taken the time, and maintained the courage to get this message out into the community,” said Timothy Daniels, a 22-year-old regional AIDS and HIV activist.

Mr. Daniels, the spokesperson for the campaign, is a Jersey City resident, who was diagnosed with HIV in 2007. He responded to the diagnosis by becoming active with Hudson Pride Connections Center, then interned as an outreach worker at the Jersey City Medical Center infectious disease clinic Center for Comprehensive Care, becoming a permanent part of that team in 2008. He also works as a model, actor, photographer, and motivational speaker on HIV and safe sex.

The program will also use other traditional forms of outreach: six video Public Service Announcements that will be aired in movie theaters and on Cablevision networks, billboards, bus ads, and outdoor billboards.

There were 13,218 people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA) in the Newark area as of December 31, 2008.  This is the same as 13,243 as of December 31, 2007. Nearly half (49 percent) or 6,515 were living with HIV (not AIDS) and 51 percent (6,703) were living with AIDS. These rates are slightly different from 2006 and 2007, which showed an equal percentage of people living with HIV and AIDS. 

The Newark metropolitan area has the 11th highest number of cumulative AIDS cases (20,389) among 103 metropolitan areas of 500,000 or more residents in the US as of 2007. Largely due to the influence of the Newark region, New Jersey continues to rank fifth among states in the U.S. with the highest number of cumulative AIDS cases at 50,694. 

Since taking office in July 2006, the Booker Administration has made a strong commitment to LGBTQ issues, supporting Gay Pride Week by raising the Pride flag for the first time in the City of Newark, and creating the first-ever LGBTQ Commission. The City has also worked to build partnerships and alliances with LGBTQ community groups to address their issues and concerns and is currently working with the Newark Pride Alliance and the Hetrick-Martin Institute to start a pilot after-school program to support Newark’s LGBTQ youth. On December 8, 2009, Mayor Booker joined with Musician Jon Bon Jovi, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Help USA Board Chair Maria Cuomo Cole and Broadway House families and North residents to officially open Help USA Genesis JBJ Soul Homes located at the corner of Oriental Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue. This public-private partnership with Mr. Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation, has resulted in Genesis Apartments, 51 new units of affordable housing for low-income and special-needs persons, as well as a unique combination of residential and support services to homeless people living with AIDS.

For more information about the “Status Is Everything” social media marketing campaign you can call (973) 639-0700 can visit their website at

Residents with questions about the Commission or any other City of Newark programs or policies should contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.




Contact:        Newark Press Information Office  - (973) 733-8004

About the City of Newark, New Jersey 
Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.

With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival.  In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.

For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at

STORY TAGS: newark, status is everything, black, males, targeted, campaign, target, mayor booker, corey, social marketing, African American Office of Gay Concerns, urban healthcare, hiv, prevention, gay, lesbian, homosexual, lgbt, lgbt news, hiv news, minority health, healthcare, minority, health, treatment, illness, sickness, prevention, minority news, black radio network, new jersey

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