Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) (03.29.12) - Wednesday, April 04,
Local youths seeking to warn other teens about AIDS recently
starred in the fifth public service announcement (PSA) shot by
the Norfolk-based nonprofit TeenAIDS-PeerCorps.
The 30-second PSA, titled "Prom Party," was shot on location
outside an actual ROTC military ball at the Cavalier Hotel in
March. It ends with this phrase: "Teens must tell their
friends about AIDS before it is too late."
Participant Grace Byrd, 15, is hopeful the video will speak
effectively to her peers. "Kids pay more attention to the
television than their teachers or parents," she said.
TeenAIDS-PeerCorps was founded in 1997 by Director John
Chittick, a former Harvard lecturer on HIV prevention. The
volunteer organization has chapters in 110 countries. Its teen
AIDS PSAs are aired nationally on cable TV and YouTube.
"Teenagers are having sex," said Chittick. "We can tell them
not to, and that if you abstain you won't get an STD, but that
isn't the only message to tell."
"Teens feel invincible. Like 'It's not going to happen to
me,'" Chittick continued. CDC statistics for 2010, however,
rank Hampton Roads near the top for STDs among US metropolitan
"It's a topic no one wants to talk about, but it's just as
deadly as any other disease," said Alyssa Gizinski, a 16-year-
old high school sophomore. Gizinski added that a friend who
has been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS was angry that no one had
warned her she was at risk. "I don't think teens realize how
important or how serious it is," said Gizinski. "But they
could be part of the statistic."
For more information, visit http://teenaids.org or
TeenAIDSPeerCorps on www.youtube.com.