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YouthAIDS, Levi's and BET's Rap It-Up Campaign Kick Off 2007 'Kick Me' Campaign to Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness at High Schools, Colleges and Universities Across the Country
Date:11/20/2007

Celebrity Spokespeople to Drive Young People to Do Something Radical and Simple to Fight the Spread of HIV/AIDS

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Look out for the Kick Me sign. It's back on the backs of college students around the nation. YouthAIDS, an action-based initiative implemented by Population Services International (PSI), today announced the launch of the 2007 'Kick Me' campaign. The 'Kick Me' program takes the childish prank and turns it into a powerful tool to communicate facts, start dialogue and change behavior among HIV/AIDS' most at risk group.

This national, grassroots, student-led campaign to increase awareness of HIV / AIDS among youth in the U.S., aims to reduce infection-related stigma and opening a constructive dialogue among young people. The "Kick Me" campaign is based on the old prank of someone sticking a Kick Me sign on another's back without their knowledge -- just like 90% of those infected HIV/AIDS may not know they are carrying HIV.

"With the help of celebrities like Kat DeLuna and Omarion and partners like Levi's and BET's Rap It-Up campaign, we're turning a practical joke into a practical lesson. We are calling on young people across the country to do something radical and simple to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS," said YouthAIDS Founder & Director Kate Roberts.

Kick Me! features Samuel L. Jackson, Omarion, Kat DeLuna, Mekhi Pfifer, Elisha Cuthbert, Maria Menounos, Shannon Elizabeth, comedian Russell Peters, Kelly Rowland, Ben Jelen, DJ Rekha, State Radio, Shotgun Honeymoon, Emmy Rossum, and more in PSAs, school visits, and/or special events across the country.

Beginning today, students will register at http://www.youthaids.org and ask friends and family to sponsor them beginning World AIDS Day, December 1st, through December 20th when they will wear signs on their backs communicating facts about HIV / AIDS, promoting HIV testing, and encouraging people to support YouthAIDS programs. Funds raised by "Kick Me" will support YouthAIDS programs in nations throughout the world, like voluntary counseling and testing services in Rwanda, food provision in Botswana and abstinence awareness campaigns in Zambia.

Many Kick Me! Campaign school visits and special events will occur across the country during the month of November leading up to World AIDS Day, December 1st, including a dance party hosted by the legendary DJ Rekha at her popular Basement Bhangra party at SOB's nightclub in New York City on November 21st. Besides highlighting the Kick Me! Campaign, the event will also focus on the efforts of YouthAIDS to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention messages in India.

Launched in 2006, with the help of our Youth Ambassadors Ludacris and Emmy Rossum, we called on young people across the country to do something radical and simple to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS. Emmy and Ludacris spoke with many students at colleges around the country about the campaign and HIV prevention.

More than 1,000 people participated in the 2006 Kick Me! campaign. 800,000 people saw the signs and were impacted by the message. The campaign raised more than $100,000.

In addition, a number of national and global youth groups will work to raise awareness about 'Kick Me' including Sigma Phi Epsilon National, Americans for Informed Democracy, Campaign to End AIDS, University Coalitions for Global Health, and many social networking organizations including myspace.com, facebook.com and ThinkMTV.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

1. Visit http://www.youthaids.org and register today.

2. Download your Kick Me kit (complete with signs, talking points, statistics, cool ideas, PR templates, and tips on fundraising) and get started. Pick from one of several messages, grab your sponsor form and hit the road. For every hour you wear or post the sign, ask friends and family to sponsor you with a financial pledge or simply ask for a flat donation.

3. Wear the sign anytime from today through December 20th. Talk about HIV. Collect your pledges. Send in funds raised to YouthAIDS by December 20th to collect great rewards.

ABOUT YOUTHAIDS

YouthAIDS, an education and prevention initiative of PSI, uses media, pop culture, music, theatre and sport to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and reach 600 million young people in more than 60 countries with life-saving messages, products, services and care. For more information, please visit: http://www.youthaids.org.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

YouthAIDS: Marshall Stowell | mstowell@psi.org | 202-572-4619

Qorvis Communications: Kelley McCormick | kmccormick@qorvis.com | 202-683-3125


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SOURCE YouthAIDS
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