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U.S. News

Illinois: Things Get "Raw" at Youth Confab

May 5, 2011

AIDS prevention, career development, and creative writing as therapy were among topics discussed at "As Raw As It Gets," the recent ninth annual conference sponsored by Chicagoland Youth Against AIDS.


"I believe that if nothing else, the youth will be armed with ammunition of information from this conference," said C.C. Carter of the women's group POW WOW Inc. "They will not have to rely on some adult to tell them or even get miseducated from someone." Carter helped organize the conference with Dr. Margo Bell of the Chicago HIV/AIDS Risk Reduction Project for Youth. Also playing a role was Stroger Hospital's Division of Adolescent Medicine.

The free gathering for youths ages 13 to 24 began with an address by Marvelyn Brown, who learned at age 19 that she was HIV-positive. Brown's efforts to share her story have earned her widespread recognition, including a 2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding National PSA.

Remarks by David Robertson, who is HIV-positive, drew an emotional reaction from one 14-year-old. "The best thing I took from his talk was how he went through all of that and kept going with his life," she said. "He didn't give up."

Other highlights included:

  • "This Is What HIV Looks Like," a workshop in which a panel dealt with stereotypes about HIV and the communities it affects.
  • "Turn Your Hustle into a Career," in which youths were counseled about turning their interests and passions into profitable careers.
  • "Writing My Life Positive," where workshop leaders discussed how writing can help young people manage their feelings and prioritize their goals. "I wanted them to know that based on what they say and what they write, they have the power to reinterpret society," said Ra Perre Shelton, who co-hosted the workshop.

Back to other news for May 2011

Adapted from:
Windy City Times (Chicago)
05.04.2011; Terrence Chappell

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.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More on HIV Prevention in Young People

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