My Fabulous Disease
The CDC's Gay Dance Video About HIV Is Flat Out Fabulous
By Mark S. King
September 27, 2016
The song, "Collect My Love," was released by The Knocks and it features vocals by Alex Newell, the young gender-bending singer who rose to fame by stealing season three of the television series, Glee (his rendition of "Boogie Shoes" on that show is a one-way ticket to my happy place).
In the CDC music video released today, Newell performs the song in a crowded, gay-friendly dance club. The atmosphere is ebullient and cruisy, with gay men making connections left and right. That's where HIV prevention comes in.
In an exclusive interview with Alberto Santana of the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Manny Rodriguez, part of the creative team at agency FHI360, both men made clear that solid research was their guide.
"This is an authentic campaign," said Rodriguez, "with gay men involved in both the campaign staff and creative team. Our goal was to marry CDC research with something that is accessible and enjoyable to watch."
"We know that having conversations about HIV can increase good health outcomes and strengthen relationships," said Santana. "We also wanted to playfully connect to pop culture. We are putting out important information, and doing it outside the normal means."
The CDC is exceedingly careful to provide scientifically accurate messages, but has certainly never delivered these messages in such an innovative and entertaining way. The video incorporates both PrEP and the fact people with HIV can become undetectable -- two important and often misunderstood issues being heavily discussed among the gay community right this minute.
Sure, the world conjured in the CDC video may not reflect all interactions among gay men as we know them to be. Stigma and judgment still exist and are practiced nightly in clubs throughout the country. But I wholeheartedly support this alternative, aspirational world, where gay men live joyfully and play responsibly. That's the world I want to live in.
The video will be shared on social media and through CDC's community partners. But why wait? Check it out, and share it with your networks. Discuss it. Start a conversation about the ways we can protect ourselves and our community.
And put on your dancing shoes.
Visit Mark's live blog at www.MyFabulousDisease.com.
My Fabulous Disease
Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.
Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.
Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!
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December 28, 2017 - amfAR Chair Kenneth Cole Must Be Replaced. Here's Five Suggestions. A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
November 28, 2017 - The World AIDS Day Anthem We Really Need Has Just Arrived: A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
November 21, 2017 - Antron Reshaud Olukayode Died of AIDS. We Must Say It.
November 13, 2017 - BPM (Beats Per Minute) is the Sexiest Damn Film of 2017. Period. A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
November 6, 2017 - This HIV Survivor Quit Smoking to Vape. Don't Judge. A Blog Entry by Mark S. King
Interviews With Mark:
Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)
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