Generation: Gamerz Pos or Not to Help Fight HIV

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mtvU, MTV’s Peabody and Emmy Award-winning college network, and the
Kaiser Family Foundation, in partnership with POZ Magazine, today
unveiled Pos or Not (www.PosorNot.com):
an online game that challenges stereotypes and breaks down the barriers
that may prevent people from talking openly about HIV/AIDS, getting
tested, and using protection.

 People from across the U.S. – half
of whom are living with HIV and half who are not – share parts of their
lives for Pos or Not by divulging their HIV status to help dispel
myths and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Players confront their own
HIV stereotypes as they guess whether a profiled participant is
positive or negative based only on a photo and a few personal details,
such as what they do on the weekends or their favorite kind of music.

Among
the participants who are positive, we’re provided a window on the
circumstances in which they learn their HIV status – including after
the birth of a child, calls from ex-lovers, and long-postponed HIV
tests. HIV negative participants share how the disease has touched
their lives, claiming boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers and best
friends. Every individual stresses that HIV affects everyone and that
the only way to truly know your own or some else’s HIV status is by
getting tested.
While Pos or Not confronts stereotypes and popular
misconceptions about HIV/AIDS, it also provides users with information
about HIV prevention, as well as local HIV and STD testing resources
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). In
addition, players are invited to join the game to help underscore that
there’s no way to tell a person’s HIV status from how they look or what
they do.

Several of the most requested acts on college campuses
and major pop culture figures are also lending their efforts to help
stoke the online viral spread of “Pos or Not,” including Wyclef Jean,
Fall Out Boy, Will.i.am, Alyssa Milano, Say Anything, Perez Hilton,
Angels & Airwaves, Atmosphere, The Spill Canvas, 30 Seconds to
Mars, Aesop Rock, Motion City Soundtrack, All Time Low and Rise
Against. Beginning today, these and many others are sending the game to
their fans, families and friends, via a feature that allows users to
share “Pos or Not” with everybody in their e-mail address books with
only a couple clicks.

Pos or Not confronts the stigma and
stereotypes that fuel the continued spread of this disease some 25
years since the first diagnosis,” said Tina Hoff, vice president and
director of Entertainment Media Partnerships at the Kaiser Family
Foundation. “‘Pos or Not’ has the powerful effect of allowing young
people across the country to learn more about those infected and
affected by HIV/AIDS and in doing so hopefully form a more personal
understanding of the disease.”

Pos or Not was inspired by the winners of
the “Change the Course of HIV Challenge,” a nationwide competition that
asked college students to propose a viral, Web-based game that would
creatively engage people to help combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. The
winning concept was submitted by a team from the Florida Interactive
Entertainment Academy and included designers Brendan McLeod and Matthew
Laurence, programmers Chris Camilleri and Gabriel Montagne, and artist
Chip Lundell.

College students helped conceive Pos or Not and
are pioneering the future of digital activism every day, so mtvU, the
Kaiser Family Foundation and POZ Magazine are calling on users to
imagine ways the game can be even more viral and impactful. Anyone with
a vision for how “Pos or Not” can be effectively executed on other
platforms (mobile, social networks, etc.), remixed, or in any way serve
as an even more powerful call to action on the HIV/AIDS epidemic are
encouraged to send ideas to MyIdeas@PosorNot.com.
mtvU and the Kaiser Family Foundation are committing to incorporate the
best concepts into future versions of the game – or a completely
re-imagined iteration – so it continues to evolve and reach more people.

Pos or Not follows on the success of Darfur is Dying (www.DarfurisDying.com),
mtvU’s student-developed videogame – now played more than 3 million
times by over 1.5 million people – designed to spread awareness of and
spur action to end the genocide in Darfur. Darfur is Dying is a
narrative-based simulation where the user, from the perspective of a
displaced Darfurian, negotiates forces that threaten the survival of
his or her refugee camp. The game is a key element of mtvU’s nearly
four-year, student-led, Emmy Award-winning Sudan campaign.

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