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At a glance: United States of America

Young people use new media to speak out on HIV and AIDS

UNICEF Image: Vlog it, Mtv, HIV/AIDS, vlogs
© UNICEF/HQ06-1500/ Pirozzi
Youth leaders affected by AIDS stand in a circle, holding hands, to symbolize the slogan ‘We can do it together’.

NEW YORK, USA, 25 July 2007 − As part of a new media video contest, ten young people from around the world documented their thoughts and experiences on HIV and AIDS. Their video blogs, or ‘vlogs’, are available today from UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive and show how HIV affects young people’s daily lives in different ways.

Celebrities, including Da’Ville, Shaggy, Simon Webbe and UNICEF UK Goodwill Ambassador Ewan McGregor also lent their voices to the project, speaking out on the importance of HIV prevention and the devastating effects of AIDS on families and communities all over the world.

Thithi Nteta, 22
Cape Town, South Africa
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"I'm pretty sure I must know someone who is living with HIV. The stigma is still heavy and people are still not ready to be open about it.  I think that open disclosure of HIV status and communication is important. People don't know things about HIV because nobody talks or discusses things openly and frankly. 

South Africa has the highest incidence of HIV in the world. I learned from making my vlog that I'm not the only one who's scared."

Daniel Negatu, 25
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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"For the vlog, I needed an actor to play this role of a college student who comes face to face with the prospect of being HIV positive. When I started approaching some people to play this role many of them turned me down because they did not want to be associated with HIV/AIDS. Finally my best friend came through.

HIV can easily happen to you. So many people die every single day as a result of AIDS in Ethiopia. I have faced the illness and imminent loss of some acquaintances due to HIV/AIDS."

Mariel Garcia Montes, 16
Mexico City, Mexico
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"In Mexico, HIV is mostly transmitted between young people by sexual contact.  No one I know has AIDS, but, in the end, I think it affects us all.

I’ve learned a lot about the social side of AIDS in Mexico. The cost of antiretrovirals in Mexico is extremely high and definitely it's not a treatment that most people can afford... But I was wrong when I thought that support towards HIV positive people simply didn't exist in Mexico. There is an on-going struggle for their rights and I think it is very inspiring."

Deng Yongshi, 17
Dongguan City, China
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"I don't know anyone who is living with HIV.  AIDS seems to be far away from us, but I know that crisis is around us all the time.
In the process of creating my vlog, I really learnt more about this virus. Moreover, I got to know that many teenagers did not take AIDS into consideration seriously. This fact is really appalling and can bring about disastrous effect.

This vlog is a beginning. I want to make more vlogs about AIDS and make more people to make their vlogs. The more, the better!"

Chow Jia Long, 21
Perak, Malaysia
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"The situation of HIV in Malaysia is lower compared to other countries, but for how long this will continue is anybody's guess. Also, the subject is still considered a taboo in Malaysia and people tend to shy away from the subject.

AIDS is now an epidemic which has had such an impact on the world. I was struggling to write about it in the most creative way possible, and then the idea of writing a piece of rap hit me, and that's when I put my whole heart and mind into it."














25 July 2007:
Watch the videos below to see celebrities speak out about HIV/AIDS for the UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive campaign.

See a highlight of the young people's vlogs, part of Vlogit, a global video project produced with help from UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive.
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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ewan McGregor speaks about HIV/AIDS for UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive.
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International reggae artist  Shaggy shares a message on HIV/AIDS for UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive
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Music and film star Simon Webbe on the importance of HIV/AIDS awareness for UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive
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Jamaican reggae artist Da' Ville talks about HIV/AIDS as part of the UNICEF and MTV Staying Alive campaign
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