Aspira Puerto Rico, McCann launch ‘A Media Asta’ educational Campaign
SAN JUAN – The community-based organization Aspira Puerto Rico and advertising agency McCann Puerto Rico joined forces to launch the “A Media Asta” (“At Half-Mast”) campaign, to raise awareness about the alarming number of infections and deaths in the world from sexually transmitted diseases.
The director of Aspira Puerto Rico’s HIV/AIDS/STD Prevention Program, Lizbeth Rivera, reported that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 358.8 million people annually in the world contract a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STI, STD), including HIV. That is, 983,013 people every day and 40,958 people every hour contract some sexually transmitted infection. This is equivalent to 683 people infected every minute.
“For Aspira Puerto Rico, it is a source of pride that an international advertising agency such as McCann, through its creative director, José Rodríguez, selected us to conduct this educational campaign that is consistent with our programmatic area of health promotion,” said Adalexis Ríos Orlandi, executive director of Aspira.
“This valuable initiative demonstrates the commitment and social responsibility of an advertising agency…when Puerto Rico is going through difficult situations and requires preventive health strategies,” Ríos Orlandi added.
According to the executive director, through the nonprofit’s Education Program for the Prevention of AIDS & Sexually Transmitted Diseases, the young and adult populations are made aware of the risk behaviors that may cause HIV/AIDS and other STDs. This program is funded from the U.S. Department of Health through the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
The creative director of McCann said the purpose of lowering the Puerto Rican flag at half-mast before and on Valentine’s Day is a sign of mourning to raise awareness among youth and adults about practicing sex without protection.
“The number of [STDs] is alarming. That is why, in solidarity with all [people who became infected], we want to send a warning message to all members of our society. I invite you to become part of this prevention effort, since infection does not discriminate by race or social status,” Rodríguez said.
The agency created www.amediaasta.com where people can download the Puerto Rican flag at half-mast in digital format.
“We invite all of Puerto Rico to put the Puerto Rican flag at half mast Feb. 8-14 and share the act through social media as a show of support for this effort,” Ríos Orlandi said.
According to the CDC, the United States sees about 20 million new infections annually and recommends using condoms as a preventive method. Some STDs do not show symptoms, so it is possible a person becomes infected and does not know it. The most common STDs are human papillomavirus (HPV), which if left untreated can become cancer; syphilis; chlamydia; gonorrhea; herpes; and HIV/AIDS. For all these diseases, treatment is available, and some can be cured.