Message on HIV Goes Viral

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internet_tv_small.jpgADOTAS – Most people born before 1980 know they can’t “tell” if someone has HIV/AIDS by the way they look (thanks to Madonna et al, it was hammered into our brains). But according to a recent study from the Center for Disease Control, 25% of teen girls in the U.S. have an STD right now, and failure to use condoms is widely seen as the culprit – the fact is, most teenagers these days just don’t see HIV/AIDS or other STDs as a major threat.

mtvU, the Kaiser Family Foundation & Poz Magazine are joining forces with the likes of Wyclef Jean, Fallout Boy, Perez Hilton and Alyssa Milano to launch PosOrNot, an HIV-awareness site that hopes to fight the deadly virus through a viral awareness campaign.

The viral online game showcases youth from across the country (half of whom are HIV positive) who share a few personal details about their interests and favorite activities. Players are left to guess, from the sparse facts and the youth’s appearance, whether they’re HIV positive or not.

The game was created to fight stereotypes and burgeoning misconceptions about the disease, but it’s also educational: information about testing resources and HIV prevention is also available.

The site was “designed to capture college students’ attention and harness the viral nature of the Web in the ongoing fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS,” said Stephen Friedman, GM, mtvU, in a news release. “‘Pos or Not’ was created to shatter myths, challenge assumptions and promote responsible sexual behavior – and we salute every participant, as well as the team of college students who conceived the game, for breathing life into it.”

mtvU also owns and operates the College Media Network, the largest interactive network of online college newspapers in the U.S., and RateMyProfessors.com, the Internet’s largest listing of collegiate professor ratings.  The College Media Network comprises nearly 600 campus publications that serve institutions including Brown University, the University of Illinois, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at Austin and Duke University, with a combined enrollment of over 5.5 million students, reaching an average of 5 million unique users each month.  RateMyProfessors.com reaches approximately 2.9 million college students each month, via the site’s more than 6.6 million student-generated ratings of over 1 million college professors.

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