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BET Premieres HIV/AIDS Testing Special Featuring Hip Hop Diva Ciara and Comedienne Mo'Nique

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WASHINGTON, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- On Sunday, June 26 at 3:00 pm ET/PT, BET will premiere OPEN MIC: MY THING, an hour-long special program produced as part of Rap-It-Up, the network's award-winning HIV/AIDS public education partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Co-hosted by Mad Linx of BET's RAP CITY and hip hop diva Ciara, and also featuring actress/comedian Mo'Nique and R&B singer-turned-actress Eve, the show spans the U.S. for stories about how young people are taking charge to get the word out about HIV/AIDS and the importance of testing. The show debuts on the eve of National HIV Testing Day (June 27).

Four young men demystify HIV testing by taking viewers along as they get tested at T.H.E. Clinic in Los Angeles. In Nashville, the show takes a look at the growing impact of HIV on young women. At Langston University in Oklahoma, the show looks at how the school has made testing a campus-wide priority. And, in Detroit, the show checks in with a young HIV positive man from last year's program about his recent appearance on the UPN network sitcom Eve to get out the word on testing.

Lil' E, the son of late rapper Eazy E, also speaks about his father's death 10 years ago as a result of AIDS and the importance of sharing his personal experience. AIDS is a leading cause of death for African Americans, who have been disproportionately impacted by HIV.

"BET is steadfast in its commitment to educating viewers about the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS," said Sonya Lockett, BET's Director of Public Affairs. "Through our special on-air programming and community outreach efforts, we hope to continue to raise public awareness about HIV/AIDS."

"One in four Americans living with HIV doesn't know it," said Tina Hoff, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President and Director of Entertainment Media Partnerships. "Getting the word out about HIV testing is crucial to reducing the spread of this disease, which is disproportionately impacting African Americans."


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.


BET, a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA; VIA.B), is the nation's leading television network providing quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs programming for the African-American audience. The BET Network reaches more than 80 million households according to Nielsen media research, and can be seen in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET is a dominant consumer brand in the urban marketplace with a diverse group of branded businesses: BET.com, the Number 1 Internet portal for African Americans; BET Digital Networks - BET Jazz, BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Event Productions, specializing in a full range of event production services, including event management, venue selection, talent recruitment, sound, lighting and stage production; and BET Books, the nation's leading publisher of African-American themed romance novels under the Arabesque imprint which also publishes compelling fiction under the Sepia imprint and inspirational fiction and nonfiction under the New Spirit imprint.


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit, private operating foundation dedicated to providing information and analysis on health issues to policymakers, the media, and the general public. It is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. Information on HIV/AIDS is available at http://www.kff.org/, and a daily news summary report on developments in HIV/AIDS is available on http://www.kaisernetwork.org/, the Foundation's free health information service.

Source: BET (Black Entertainment Television)

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

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

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