Wednesday, November 15, 2006

YouthAIDS Launches "Kick Me" Campaign

YouthAIDS, Levi's and Virgin Unite Launch 'Kick Me' Campaign to Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness at Colleges and Universities Throughout the Country

Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges and Emmy Rossum Start National Campaign to Rally Students
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ --

Ever fallen victim to a prank? YouthAIDS, an action-based initiative implemented by Population Services International (PSI) in partnership with corporate sponsors the Levi's® brand and Virgin Unite, the charitable arm of Virgin, today turned an infamous hoax into a powerful public message with the launch of the "Kick Me" campaign. "Kick Me" is a national, grassroots, student-led campaign to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among youth in the U.S., reducing infection-related stigma and opening a constructive dialogue among young people.

The "Kick Me" campaign is based on the old prank of someone sticking a Kick Me sign on another's back without their knowledge -- just like 90% of those infected with HIV/AIDS may not know they are carrying HIV. YouthAIDS is turning that practical joke into a practical lesson.
"With the help of celebrities like Ludacris and Emmy Rossum, we're calling on young people across the country to do something radical and simple to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS," said YouthAIDS Founder & Director Kate Roberts.

Beginning today, students will register at http://www.youthaids.org and ask friends and family to sponsor them on December 1st, World AIDS Day, when they will wear signs on their backs communicating facts about HIV / AIDS, promoting HIV testing, and encouraging people to support YouthAIDS programs. Funds raised by "Kick Me" will go towards enhancing existing YouthAIDS programs in nations throughout the world, like voluntary counseling and testing services in Rwanda, food provision in Botswana and abstinence awareness campaigns in Zambia.
To spread the word about "Kick Me," YouthAIDS ambassador Chris "Ludacris" Bridges will travel the country, speaking with students to promote the campaign. In addition, a number of national and global youth groups, including Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, College Democrats, Americans for Informed Democracy, and the global social networking organization, http://www.YouthNoise.com, will also work to raise awareness about "Kick Me." Virgin Mobile USA is also teamed up and offering its 4 million customers the opportunity to text "FIGHT" to a special shortcode and automatically donate money toward the cause. The Levi's® brand will host a special offer from November 29 to December 1 for every purchase made on levisstore.com, $5.01 will benefit YouthAIDS.

Ludacris will begin his cross-country tour to increase student participation in the "Kick Me" Campaign with a school visit in California on November 28th where he will be joined by Emmy Rossum. "Young people need to know about HIV before it is too late -- or else they will be kicking themselves," said Ludacris. "They need to protect themselves and one another."
During the tour, Ludacris will also visit the Virgin Megastore in Chicago. In addition to providing fundraising rewards for registered participants, the companies will launch cause-related marketing campaigns and donation drives to support YouthAIDS grassroots programs in the US around the world.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE
1. Visit http://www.youthaids.org and register today.
2. Download your Kick Me kit (complete with signs, talking points,
statistics, cool ideas, PR templates, and tips on fundraising) and get
started. Pick from one of several messages, grab your sponsor form and
hit the road. For every hour you wear or post the sign, ask friends
and family to sponsor you with a financial pledge or simply ask for a
flat donation.
3. Wear the sign on World AIDS Day, December 1st. Talk about HIV. Collect
your pledges. Send in funds raised to YouthAIDS by December 15th to
collect great rewards from Levi's, Virgin, ALDO, Kiehl's, and others.

ABOUT YOUTHAIDS
YouthAIDS, an education and prevention initiative of PSI, uses media, pop culture, music, theatre and sport to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and reach 600 million young people in more than 60 countries with life-saving messages, products, services and care. For more information, please visit: http://www.youthaids.org.

Source: YouthAIDS