New York, NY — Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) recently launched an innovative HIV prevention campaign "Kiss & Tell" which has been printed in various educational materials and appears in phone kiosks throughout Manhattan in July. "Kiss & Tell" encourages black and Latino young men who have sex with men (YMSM) to have open and loving discussions with partners (the people that they are kissing) about their sexual history and HIV status. The campaign was developed in partnership with young men, ages 13 to 19, who participate in GMHC’s new youth leadership-development program, CLUB1319. The program provides HIV prevention education, social networking, skills training, and opportunities to participate in developing social marketing campaigns such as "Kiss & Tell."
The concept originated out of the former and homophobic "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy which prohibited gay or bisexual people from disclosing their sexual orientation or speaking about same-sex relationships, while serving in the U.S. armed forces. The youth wanted a campaign that spoke the opposite of this policy-while featuring intimacy and what is possible for young gay couples as they express trust, respect and commitment for one another.
"This campaign reinforces GMHC’s ongoing commitment–since our earliest days–to addressing homophobia and reducing the spread of HIV among gay men," said Marjorie Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "The campaign directly challenges homophobia, and acknowledges the value of relationships in the lives of young gay men while encouraging dialogue."
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new analysis indicating that 1 in 5 gay and bisexual men in a study of 21 major U.S. cities is infected with HIV, and that nearly half of these men (44%) are unaware of their status. Of the gay men studied, young men under the age of 25, blacks and Latinos were least likely to be aware of their status. Other findings of the report underscore the racial disparities that exist among gay men, with black gay men most disproportionately affected by the virus, and higher rates of HIV prevalence among communities with lower rates of education and income.
"Kiss & Tell" also connects with the First Annual Youth Summit: A Brotherhood Affair, to be held on July 22 for young men, ages 24 and under, and will be a full day concentrated on offering what CLUB1319 does year-round.
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