MTV: Music Television and the Kaiser Family Foundation on June 20 announced a series of complementary on-air, online and on the ground efforts as part of the network’s think: Sexual Health campaign. The activities will encourage young people to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The collaboration builds on the network’s nine-year public education partnership with Kaiser, a leader in health information and research.
"Our audience tells us time and time again that they want more information on how to protect their sexual health," commented Ian Rowe, VP of Strategic Partnerships & Public Affairs. "In continuing our long and productive partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, we are eager to help reinforce the message to young people that the only way to know their status, and therefore to best protect themselves and their partners, is to get tested."
"With more than one in two new HIV infections occurring in this country among people under the age of 25, HIV testing is an important issue for America’s youth," said Tina Hoff, Vice President and Director of Entertainment Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. "Working with MTV we can reach young people with the information they need from a source they trust."
A new series of targeted PSAs encouraging viewers to ask to be tested begin airing on MTV today as part of the on-air commitment. The four spots, which will run across the network through the summer are tagged with the line: "It doesn’t matter how you ask -- as long as you do," and focus on demystifying and normalizing this conversation between patient and provider about this sensitive topic. In addition, MTV News will look at new testing methods on June 27th. All programming directs viewers to http://think.mtv.com and the campaign hotline 1-888-BE SAFE-1 for more information.
Kaiser and MTV will also team up with The HEAR ME Project on the "Positively Negative National HIV/AIDS Story-Writing Competition" for youth ages 14-22. The winning story will be adapted into an HIV/AIDS educational film to be distributed to schools, health departments and other youth-serving organizations. A call for entries begins on National HIV Testing Day (June 27) and contest information can be found at http://think.mtv.com.
In the U.S. cities most affected by HIV/AIDS, MTV is sponsoring ten local AIDS service organizations serving young people on National HIV Testing Day and promoting the events online at http://think.mtv.com:
*PEOPLE OF COLOR IN CRISIS (POCC), Brooklyn, NY;
*MOBILE HIV TESTING AND OUTREACH PROJECT, Los Angeles, CA;
*YOUTH EXPRESSIONS, INC., Hollywood, FL;
*THE ATTIC YOUTH CENTER, Philadelphia, PA;
*THE DROP IN CENTER, New Orleans, LA;
*METRO TEENAIDS, Washington, DC;
*WOMEN ON MAINTAINING EDUCATION AND NUTRITION (W.O.M.E.N.), Nashville, TN;
*LOWCOUNTRY AIDS SERVICES, North Charleston, SC;
*YOUNG ADULT PROGRAM/FUSE, Dallas, TX; and,
*GRADY TEEN CLINIC, Atlanta, GA.
The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) and OraSure Technologies are providing free oral-tests to these organizations, as part of its national Mayors Campaign Against HIV. More information about these organizations can be found at http://think.mtv.com, along with the campaign’s extensive online resources, including daily HIV/AIDS news headlines provided by http://www.kaisernetwork.org, a down-loadable resource guide on HIV/AIDS and STDs, and links to the CDC’s national HIV testing database, offering the location of local testing centers around the nation.
As of December 2003, more than 1 million people living in the United States were HIV-positive -- the highest number ever estimated to date in the U.S. -- and nearly half of those living with HIV are African American. National HIV Testing Day was launched in 1995 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage Americans to get tested, and increase overall awareness about the epidemic. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people living with HIV in the U.S. does not know they are infected.
In a national survey conducted by Kaiser in 2003, 73% of young people who had seen the joint campaign said they were more likely to use condoms, 69% said they were more likely to talk with a partner, and 65% said they were more likely to get tested because of the campaign. "The National Survey of Teens and Young Adults on Sexual Health Public Education Campaigns" was a nationally-representative, random-digit-dial telephone survey of 1,100 young people age 16-24, conducted from January 27 through April 6, 2003. Parental permission was obtained for respondents under age 18. The full report is available online here.