December 8, 2010
Youths and adults in Rochester have banded together to respond to a local spike in HIV diagnoses among young people. Public health officials recently reported that 27 of the 60 individuals newly diagnosed with HIV in the county through the first nine months of the year were under 25 years of age.
The message of the Rochester Coalition to Stop HIV, launched on World AIDS Day, is abstinence until both partners test negative for HIV, being monogamous, and using condoms faithfully.
Peer-to-peer contact will be stressed in the coalition's campaigns. "Adults are in another time period and can't relate to kids in the present," said Dahmeer Baker, a member of Youth 4 Change. "We know what kids are going through right now."
The coalition's Facebook page encourages visitors to "Stop It. Pop It. Protect Yourself." The phrasing and a song with the same theme is a reference to "bubble" as slang for HIV.
The coalition includes the Monroe County STD/HIV Program, Metro Council for Teen Potential, the city of Rochester, the University of Rochester Center for Health and Behavioral Training, MOCHA Center, Safe Sex Inc., Action Front Center, Youth 4 Change, and Rochester Community TV-15.