Cable Backs AIDS-Education Effort

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The cable industry is committed to a public-service campaign designed to help draw attention to the ways the AIDS-causing HIV virus is spread, industry officials said at a Washington Metropolitan Cable Club luncheon last Wednesday.

"We are trying to use education as a vaccine, until we have a real vaccine, by using cable to deliver the information," Steve Villano, president and CEO of Cable Positive, the cable and telecommunications industry's AIDS action network, said of efforts to educate the public on how the virus is transmitted.

Villano commended the luncheon panel's two world-renowned AIDS researchers on their devotion to finding a vaccine, and presented an example of Cable Positive's new "Is Today the Day You Get AIDS?" advertising campaign, which bowed on Dec. 1, also World AIDS Day.

The campaign provides information on prevention and testing and was made possible through grants from The Joel A. Berger Memorial Fund and The John D. Evans Foundation.

The spots feature young people and are meant to demonstrate that "normal kids" are at risk.

"Our latest campaign is aimed at people under 25 because they are the most at risk and they watch TV," said Villano.

All the ways HIV is spread are preventable, said Robert C. Gallo, co-discoverer of the virus that causes AIDS, "but for social and economic reasons those ways of blocking it are not working."

Cable Positive has partnered with more than 300 cable networks to produce and air the PSAs, according to Villano, and has also launched a program to educate cable-industry employees.

As part of the integrated public-service effort, the organization last week also began sending out a resource guide book, under the same campaign moniker.

States News Service

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