YouthAids recruits celebrities and industry for launch in UK

YouthAids, a global HIV prevention initiative, is set to launch in the UK and is calling on the sector to join forces to raise awareness of the disease among young people.

The YouthAids programme works with the music and sports industries, youth brands and celebrities to educate and encourage young people to be aware of the dangers of the disease.

The initiative will launch on 7 October with a series of short films featuring pop stars and actors talking about how to stop the spread of HIV and Aids.

Karen Roberts, project director at YouthAids, said the contribution of charities was vital for the development of the initiative.

"The idea behind YouthAids is to bring together as many organisations and charities working in the field and attract sponsorship from the corporate sector,

she said.

The campaign has already secured support from an array of major companies and is funded by jeans company Levi Strauss. The MTV Europe music network will help launch YouthAids with dedicated programmes. A pop concert is also planned to co-ordinate with the media launch to raise the profile of the project.

YouthAids will ask donors to pledge through the charity's web site. YouthAids' products, including male and female condoms and Levi's clothing, will also go on sale to raise cash for the project.

"We aim to reach 600 million young people worldwide, and our mandate is to get kids to understand our message through a medium that they understand,

said Roberts.

YouthAids is run by Population Services International, a not-for-profit company which co-ordinates a global network of HIV prevention programmes.

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