College-targeted MTVU has teamed up with the Kaiser Family Foundation and Poz Magazine to create a Web-based game designed to get people talking frankly about HIV and AIDS.
The basic concept for the game, called Pos or Not, was developed by college students who participated in a nationwide "Change the Course of HIV Challenge." The contest asked students to propose a game that would creatively engage people to help fight the spread of the disease.
Stephen Friedman, general manager and evp of MTVU, a unit of MTV Networks, pointed to the power of the Internet in spreading the word: "It's about translating activism into this new century with an audience that lives and interacts with the Internet very differently than we did. And we're hoping this will be another viral and very powerful tool."
Players must guess whether various individuals shown on the site are HIV positive or negative. Once a choice is made and the correct answer revealed, additional information is provided about how the disease has affected that person's life.
"In the U.S., one in four people who are positive don't know it. So, we thought, 'How do we continue to remind our audience that they should get tested?'" said Friedman.
The site also includes information about safe sex practices and gives locations for HIV testing.
MTVU has enlisted the aid of media celebrities, including hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean, pop-punk band Fall Out Boy and actress Alyssa Milano, by asking them to send their game to their family members and friends.
Pos or Not follows another MTVU student-developed game, Darfur is Dying, that was designed to spread the awareness of the genocide in Darfur.