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BET's Rap-It-Up Returns to Detroit to Educate Teens on HIV/AIDS

WASHINGTON, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- BET's Rap-It-Up, the cable network's award-winning national HIV/AIDS public awareness initiative, returns to Detroit to host a teen health forum at Central High School on Friday, May 27 from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Partnering with Rap-It-Up for the community effort will be P. Maxx Entertainment Group, Detroit's 97.9 WJLB FM, and Partnership for a Drug Free Detroit.

The Rap-It-Up teen health forum will address the social issues, sexual behavior and attitudes affecting today's teens, and the rise of HIV/AIDS in the urban community. BET's Mad Linx, host of network program RAP CITY, will serve as the forum moderator. Forum panelists will include, Fox 2 news anchor and 97.9 radio personality Charles Pugh, Community Health Awareness Group Representative Ricardo Marble, AIDS Activist Denise Stokes, 97.9's MC Serch, local Detroit artists Lil Ma and Cardier, and Sho Nuff recording artist Tone Tone among others. Radio personalities Dr. Darrius and SunShyne will also be on hand to lend their support. Immediately following the forum there will be a concert featuring performances by Lil Ma and Tone Tone.

The Rap-It-Up teen forum will conclude a day of activities dedicated to raising HIV/AIDS and drug awareness. Kicking off the day is the 10th Annual Detroit Safe and Sober Summer Rally, scheduled to begin with an 8:00 a.m. march to Zussman Park and featuring more than 400 band members from various Detroit area high schools. Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and other prominent community leaders will be present to address event attendees at 9:00 a.m., and there will also be free on-site HIV testing administered by the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness.

Today's disturbing statistics have shown that African Americans account for the most AIDS diagnoses, people estimated to be living with AIDS, and HIV- related deaths than any other racial group. Although African-American teens make up only 15% of U.S. teens, they account for 65% of newly-reported AIDS cases. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, African Americans in the state of Michigan accounted for 63% of the state's newly-reported AIDS cases in 2003.

"These devastating statistics reflect the urgent need to educate communities that HIV is 100% preventable," said Vikki Johnson, BET's Manager of Public Affairs. "Through educational programs such as Rap-It-Up, BET provides the information and resources necessary to raise awareness to HIV/AIDS, and to help young adults change their sexual behavior in order to curb this deadly trend."

Since its launch in 1997, BET's Rap-It-Up Campaign has tested over 5,800 people nationwide for HIV infection; managed over 988,000 calls to the Rap-It- Up toll-free hotline; hosted community teen forums for over 8,600 youth; and reached millions of viewers via HIV-related programming on the BET Network, including award-winning news specials, documentaries and public service announcements.

Media Opportunities: Coverage of Rap-It-Up Health Forum and Concert;
Interview & Photo Opportunities with BET's Mad Linx,
BET Rap-It-Up Representatives, Forum Panelists,
Performing Talent and Event Partners.


Since 1997, the Kaiser Family Foundation and BET: Black Entertainment Television have partnered on an extensive public education campaign to inform young people about sexual health issues, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). The partnership includes special programming, public service advertisements (PSAs), online content on bet.com, and a free resource and referral service. In 2000, the campaign launched a grassroots initiative to complement the on-air and online components of Rap- It-Up. Program elements include teen forums, mobile HIV testing events, and a middle and high school curriculum on HIV/AIDS. The campaign was nominated for an Emmy for Best National Public Service Announcement in 2002 and 2001, and has received numerous other awards, including the 2002 Cable Positive POP Award for Outstanding Newsmagazine Series, the 2002 CTPAA Joel Berger Award, the 2002 NAACP Image Award, the 2002 Academy of Television Arts & Science TV Cares "Ribbon of Hope" Award, and the 2002 NBACA Community Service Award.

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

CONTACT: Lyntina Townsend of BET, +1-202-608-2745, or

Web site: http://www.bet.com/

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