A new HIV prevention initiative launched by AIDS Project Los Angeles aims to encourage safer sex among young gay and bisexual men of color by reaching them with text messages urging them to use condoms and educating them about lowering their infection risks.
Funded through a grant by the organization Cable Positive and designed and implemented entirely by Los Angeles-area youths, the text-message service also provides information about homophobia, self-esteem, and how developing supportive social networks can combat negative influences.
The service is operated through APLA's Mpowerment Program. Messages also will be disseminated widely through individual MySpace and Facebook pages.
'Our aim is to help young gay and bisexual men prevent the challenges they face from becoming barriers to healthy behaviors,' said Patrick Hebert, associate director of education at APLA. 'This project capitalizes on technology they already use within their existing networks. By encouraging dialogue about HIV and AIDS, we hope to strengthen those networks and help create new ones.'