Meet Sparkle. He's a 25-year-old gay New Yorker who has a boyfriend but occasionally hooks up for sex with rich older men, usually is the passive partner during anal sex, and is a regular Ecstasy user.
He's also at high risk for HIV and other STDs.
Sparkle is one of 20 animated characters on the new HIV and STD prevention Web site Mysexycity.com, developed by the Institute for Gay Men's Health, a collaborative effort between AIDS Project Los Angeles and New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis. The characters are guided by online visitors through a variety of scenarios that include sexual activity and substance abuse in an effort to teach young gay and bisexual men the risks associated with these practices.
'Mysexycity acknowledges the pivotal role of the Internet in the lives of younger gay and bisexual men,' says APLA executive director Craig E. Thompson. 'The site provides an opportunity to educate and entertain Web users while at the same time creating a community based on HIV and health awareness.'