HBO Helps to Produce Public-Service Announcements

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HBO is teaming up with the National Basketball Association and celebrities on a domestic and international public-service initiative to promote HIV testing.

Developed by HBO, the NBA, the Global Business Coalition of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Kaiser Family Foundation, the television and radio public-service ads are timed to lead up to National HIV Testing Day June 27.

The PSAs -- which were scheduled to have their network-TV premiere in the United States during ABC’s coverage of game five of the NBA Finals June 17 -- will aim to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and direct U.S. viewers to a Web site developed for the campaign that includes basic information about HIV and testing options.

The site also includes access to information about local HIV testing centers by ZIP code provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NBA players featured in the PSAs include Lamar Odom and Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers; Samuel Dalembert and Kyle Korver of the Philadelphia 76ers; and Richard Jefferson and Marcus Williams of the New Jersey Nets. Jamie Foxx and Queen Latifah are involved in the PSAs.

Hip-Hop legend Doug E. Fresh produced the original music for the PSAs.

Among the more than 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, the CDC estimated that one in four does not know they are infected. Globally, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that eight in 10 of people living with HIV in low- or middle-income countries are unaware that they have contracted the virus. Both the CDC and UNAIDS have encouraged more routine testing.

The PSAs will be shown in arenas during NBA games throughout the 2007-08 regular season. MTV and BET also committed to running the PSAs in the United States as part of their long-standing public education partnerships, thinkHIV and Rap-It-Up, respectively. 

Internationally, the Global Media AIDS Initiative will distribute the PSAs to its more than 100 members in more than 60 countries. The African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (ABMP) and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) also committed to distributing the PSAs to their member media companies to air in their respective regions. The PSAs being distributed by the ABMP and CBMP will refer audiences to local resources.

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