Text Message-Based HIV/AIDS Campaign Set to Start in L.A.

By pdimaso

Originally published on Advocate.com October 09 2008 11:00 PM ET

An innovative new
text message-based HIV/AIDS campaign is set to
start in Los Angeles County now that it has received
funding. With a grant from Cable Positive, the cable
industry's HIV/AIDS nonprofit, AIDS Project Los
Angeles will be able to go forward with the new-media health
intervention, the group announced on Wednesday.

The campaign will
use text messaging to directly address the HIV-related
concerns of at-risk gay and bisexual young men of
color in Los Angeles County. It will start with a
group of some 150 boys and men between the ages
of 13 and 24 who participate in a youth program at
APLA, and organizers hope the messages will spread through
their individual social networks.

"Our aim is to
help young gay and bisexual men prevent the challenges
they face from becoming barriers to healthy behaviors,"
Patrick Hebert, associate director of education at
APLA, said in a statement. "This project capitalizes
on technology they already use within their existing
networks. By encouraging dialogue about HIV/AIDS, we hope to
strengthen those networks and help create new ones."

Promotions of the
campaign will appear in 21-and-under clubs, gay pride
events, and local schools, and the effort will also be
publicized on the MySpace and Facebook pages of the
members of APLA's youth program. Almost 20% of the
48,000 cumulative AIDS cases in Los Angeles County are among
men between the ages of 13 and 29, according to county data;
nationally, blacks make up 48% of new infections
among gay and bisexual men between 13 and 29,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. (The Advocate)