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Florida: AIDS Message Delivered in Poetry

December 9, 2002

A media campaign sponsored by a federally funded program called Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health, also known as REACH 2010, recently launched public service announcements targeting Broward County residents ages 18 to 39 who are African-, Caribbean- or Hispanic-American.

The PSAs are being exposed through TV, radio and newspapers. The campaign, in emphasizing that HIV is everyone's business, uses a combination of approaches to reach the general public. "We can't just rely on the PSAs, but will also have outreach programs to the communities," said Dr. William Darrow, the REACH 2010 project leader and a professor of public health at Florida International University.

Six of the public service announcements feature spoken word poetry, in which people use theatrics while they read aloud original poems. The performances are filled with a range of emotions and expressions, everything from a comic approach to sadness and tragic tones. It's an art form that is becoming popular with young people. The public service announcements feature club scenes and an assortment of other social scenarios.

Spoken word artist Amy Baez, 25, of Miami, wanted to represent Hispanics, so she volunteered for the campaign. "I wanted to represent the Hispanic community so they could see another face that they could identify with," said Baez, who is of Puerto Rican descent.

To broaden its impact, REACH 2010 has teamed up with three Broward organizations -- the Urban League of Broward County, Hispanic Unity of Florida and Minority Development and Empowerment Inc., known as the Broward Coalition -- to educate minorities. The coalition was formed in 1999 as a part of a national effort by the CDC to make the public aware of how racial and ethnic differences have played a role in spreading HIV.

The Broward campaign was financed by a four-year grant by the CDC. Since 1999, the REACH 2010 program in Broward has received $3.2 million.

Back to other CDC news for December 9, 2002

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Adapted from:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
12.04.02; Nicole T. Lesson

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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