CDC, Verizon, University of Georgia Launch Cell Phone Initiative That Aims To Increase HIV Testing Among Youth
In an effort to increase HIV testing among young people, Verizon Wireless, CDC and University of Georgia's New Media Institute are collaborating on a project that transmits videos featuring college couples talking about getting tested for the virus via students' cell phones, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
According to the Journal-Constitution, the project is the result of a conversation at a journalism conference three years ago about how to use students' cell phones for important social messages. Five teams of students from Atlanta recorded more than one dozen videos promoting testing, while Verizon donated high-tech equipment and $12,000, and CDC provided $30,000 and relevant information. The goal is to have several videos ready for release by June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day.
Kevin Fenton -- director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention -- said increased testing can help curb the spread of the virus, particularly because one-quarter of HIV-positive people do not know their status. "We are especially concerned about HIV and younger people," he said, adding, "We have to make sure our messages are innovative, relevant and culturally competent. There's no better way than to involve young people."
Pamela Ezell -- a filmmaker and faculty member at Chapman University who participated in the project -- said it was "one of the greatest educational-production-real-world experiences I've ever had" (White, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/26).