New York, NY — Starting on Tuesday, May 29, Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) will launch a citywide HIV prevention campaign, "Kiss & Tell" in phone kiosks throughout the city to coincide with LGBT Pride Month (June). The campaign was developed in partnership with adolescents, between the ages of 13 and 19. "Kiss & Tell" encourages young African American and Latino gay and bisexual men to have open and loving discussions (tell) with partners (the people they kiss) about their sexual history and HIV status. The youth who helped to create the campaign are part of GMHC's youth leadership-development program, CLUB1319 (club1319.org). CLUB1319 provides HIV prevention education, social networking, skills training to these young men, as well as opportunities to participate in developing social marketing campaigns. "Kiss & Tell" builds upon GMHC's widely respected campaign, "I Love My Boo" which also targeted young African American and Latino gay men.
The name for the campaign emerged as a result of reflection on the now-relinquished US military's anti-gay "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, turning it from words that disempowered LGBT people into something pro-active and pro-LGBT, with a goal to protect the health of our youth.
"The 'Kiss & Tell' campaign underscores the message that the lives of young African American and Latino gay men are valued and not dispensable," said Marjorie Hill, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "In GMHC's 30th year, we remain committed to ending health disparities for youth and highlighting what is possible for young gay couples as they express trust, respect and commitment for one another."
The most recent data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show an alarming 48% increase in infections among young gay men between 2006 and 2009. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports a 50% rise in new HIV infections among young gay and bisexual men under the age of 30.
"Kiss & Tell" utilizes young gay men, empowering them to be spokesmodels for youth and the communities they live in. This gives the campaign additional credibility and impact. Celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz generously donated his services and took the photos.
"Recognizing how difficult it was for me to find my way through my teenage years as a gay youth, I think it is vitally important that all LGBT youth have a source of support and guidance," said Mike Ruiz. "The 'Kiss & Tell' campaign embodies this ideal. Therefore, there was no way I could not have participated in lending all my support to this essential project."
Also joining Mike were Memsor Kamarake, fashion director and stylist, and Merrell Hollis, make-up artist and groomer, who donated their time to style the spokesmodels during the film shoot. Sandbox Studio donated the room for the film shoot.
"Kiss & Tell" advertisements will be featured throughout NYC on phone kiosks in neighborhoods with some of the highest rates of HIV; and campaign materials will be distributed in community venues and through social media sites.
Launch of HIV prevention campaign "Kiss & Tell" in phone kiosks
Starting on May 28 and throughout LGBT Pride Month in June
Some of the locations of the phone kiosks in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, West Village and Chelsea are listed below:
203 E. Fordham Road & Grand Concourse, Bronx
134 E. 125th Street & Lexington Avenue, East Harlem
100 W. 125th Street & Lenox Avenue, West Harlem
301 23rd Street & 8th Avenue, Chelsea
402 6th Avenue & W. 8th Street, West Village
386 West Street & Christopher Street, West Village
605 Fulton Street & Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn
877 Flatbush Avenue & Church Avenue, Brooklyn
GMHC is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the fight against AIDS. We provide prevention and care services to men, women and families that are living with, or affected by, HIV/AIDS in New York City. We advocate for scientific, evidence-based public health solutions for hundreds of thousands worldwide.
Press Release from GMHC.