WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 BET Networks' national HIV/AIDS publicawareness initiative Rap-It-Up returns to New York City to host a series ofcelebrity health forums throughout New York City and Newark, N.J., to addressthe social issues, sexual behavior and attitudes impacting today's youngadults; as well as the rise of HIV/AIDS in the urban community. Rap-It-Up ispartnering with youth empowerment organization Hip Hop 4 Life and local radiostation Hot 97 for the weeklong series of HIV/AIDS events taking place onTuesday, November 13 through Friday, November 16.
The Rap-It-Up four-day tour will visit various local area high schools,including: Harlem's Bread and Roses High School; Newark, N.J.'s East Side HighSchool; the Bronx Community High School; and Brooklyn's Erasmus High School.BET personality Alesha Renee will serve as forum moderator, and forumpanelists will include: R&B singer Sammie; HIV/AIDS activist Marvelyn Brown; alocal Hot 97 personality; and a local HIV/AIDS educator. There will be a meet& greet for high school students, as well as health materials and giveawaysdistributed to event attendees following the forums.*
The state of New York ranks #1 of the top 10 states with the most AfricanAmericans estimated to be living with AIDS. Today's disturbing statisticshave shown that African Americans account for the most AIDS diagnoses, peopleestimated to be living with AIDS, and HIV-related deaths than any other racialgroup within the United States. Presently, African-American women account for67 percent of new AIDS cases among women, and although African-American teens(ages 13-19) represent only 16 percent of U.S. teens, they accounted for 69percent of newly reported AIDS cases in 2005.
To date, BET's Rap-It-Up campaign has tested more than 11,800 peoplenationwide for HIV infection; managed more than 1.1 million calls to the Rap-It-Up toll-free hotline; hosted community teen forums for more than 10,000youth in more than 33 U.S. cities; distributed more than 400,000 sexual healthinformation guides; and reached millions of viewers via HIV-relatedprogramming on BET, including award-winning news specials, documentaries andpublic service announcements.
Following is a detailed event schedule for the BET Rap-It-Up forums in theNew York area:
*Note: the Rap-It-Up celebrity health forums are open to selected highschool students only.
MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES: Coverage of BET Rap-It-Up Health Forums; Interviewand Photo Opportunities with BET Rap-It-Up representatives; celebrity forumpanelists; and event partners.
For up-to-the-minute and archival press information including releasesand photographs, visit BET's press-only Web site at www.bet.com/pr.
Since 1998, the Kaiser Family Foundation and BET Networks have partneredon an extensive public education campaign to inform young people about sexualhealth issues, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases(STDs). The partnership includes special programming, public serviceadvertisements (PSAs), online content on bet.com, and a free resource andreferral service. In 2000, the campaign launched a grassroots initiative tocomplement the on-air and online components of Rap-It-Up. Program elementsinclude teen forums, mobile HIV testing events, and middle and high schoolcurricula about HIV/AIDS. The campaign has received numerous awards,including 10 Cable Positive POP Awards, a 2005 NAACP Image Award Nominationfor "Walking on Sunshine", the 2002 CTPAA Joel Berger Award, and the 2002Academy of Television Arts & Science TV Cares "Ribbon of Hope" Award.Additionally, the campaign has received 3 Emmy nominations for Best NationalPublic Service Announcements (2002/2003, 2003/2004, and 2004/2005).
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