Internet Game Aims To Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness
The New York Times on Monday examined an Internet game, called Pos or Not, that aims to increase HIV/AIDS education and awareness. The Web site, posornot.com, shows photographs and short biographies of men and women ages 21 to 30, asking visitors to determine if each is HIV-positive or negative. It was launched in late April and was played about 5.1 million times by 400,000 people during its first three weeks. According to the Times, the "message is that you can't judge someone's virus status by looks, occupation or taste in music" (Stelter, New York Times, 5/19).
The Web site was launched by mtvU, MTV's college network, and the Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with POZ Magazine. During the game, HIV-positive participants share when they first learned their HIV status, and HIV-negative participants talk about how they have been affected by the disease. The game also provides information about HIV prevention, as well as local HIV and sexually transmitted infection resources from CDC (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/1).
"We feel it's another kind of activist tool to get out the word about HIV protection," Stephen Friedman, general manager of mtvU, said. Celebrities, such as musician Wycleaf Jean and actress Rosario Dawson, have made promotions for the game, which also is featured across MTV's networks. "Looking at the statistics that one in four people who are HIV-positive in the U.S. don't know it, it's pretty staggering," Friedman said, adding, "We hope that something like this will get under their skin. If it makes some people uncomfortable, that's not necessarily a bad thing" (New York Times, 5/19).