CDC integrated campaign educates teens about HIV

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To raise HIV/AIDS awareness among young black consumers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have teamed up with stars Jamie Foxx and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges on a multichannel campaign, launched March 4.

Called “I Know,” the initiative includes a Web site, radio and online video PSAs, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter feed and mobile messaging. The effort is part of the CDC's “Act Against AIDS” campaign, a five-year, $45 million national initiative began last year. It aims to combat complacency about the HIV/AIDS crisis in the US.  

CDC officials launched the effort yesterday at a Clark Atlanta University event and concert that featured political commentator Jeff Johnson and recording artist Jeremih.

“By supporting frank conversations through social media, 'I Know' creates an opportunity for young people to talk directly with each other about the issues that fuel this still-deadly disease,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, in a statement. “Their ideas and involvement will be a critical part of the solution.”

The campaign also includes an opt-in text effort, which is distributing information about HIV testing opportunities and video messages from celebrities and youth advocates.

According to the CDC, younger black consumers are among the hardest-hit when it comes to HIV diagnosis. Although young black Americans are only 14% of consumers ages 13- to 29-years-old, they account for half of all new HIV infections in that age group. However, concern about HIV is declining among younger black consumers, according to a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey found that between 1997 and 2009, the number of black Americans ages 18 to 29 who reported being very concerned about HIV infection declined from 54% to 40%.

The “I Know” Web site includes information about getting tested, using condoms and abstaining from sex, as well as facts about the disease. The page features a clock to highlight the statistic that every nine and a half minutes, someone in the US is infected with HIV. Visitors can also test their HIV knowledge, learn about prevention, find local testing centers, watch videos and join the campaign's social media pages.

On Facebook, fans can respond to online videos and find information from the CDC about the disease. The CDC and the celebrities involved will Tweet outreach messaging.

The PSAs, running in both radio and online video formats, feature Foxx asking viewers to get involved.

A CDC representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

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