Clever Initiative Will Allow Digicel Customers to Receive Local HIV Referral Services and Information Via SMS

Digicel and the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) announced today an alliance to connect Digicel mobile phone customers to local HIV/AIDS resources via text messaging. This initiative, which will launch on World AIDS Day (December 1) 2007, will enable Digicel customers across the Caribbean to quickly and easily receive information on their mobile phones about local HIV/AIDS clinics, testing centers, and other resources.

The initiative will be incorporated into the CBMP?s ongoing regional LIVE UP campaign that includes over 40 Caribbean media houses from 23 countries. The new HIV/AIDS text message service will be promoted through new public service ads (PSAs) and on-air promotions by CBMP members.

The announcement was made during the first annual CBMP Executive Summit, convened in conjunction with the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) Annual General Assembly in St. Kitts. Digicel customers in 17 Caribbean markets will be able to access the service from their Digicel mobile phones.

The Caribbean is the region most affected by HIV/AIDS in this hemisphere, and is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the impact of the disease. AIDS is a leading cause of death among adults (ages 15-44) in the Caribbean, and 250,000 of the region?s residents are living with HIV or AIDS. Half of those are women, and a third are young people between the ages of 15-24.

The Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS (CBMP) unites 43 top broadcasters from 23 countries in the region?s first coordinated media response to the pandemic. The Partnership creates a structured framework for sharing information and resources among broadcasters that significantly expands HIV/AIDS-related programming and public education activities across the Caribbean.

Member broadcasters deliver HIV/AIDS information across a variety of platforms and formats, including targeted public service announcements (PSAs), entertainment programming, news and public affairs programming, and online resources.

The CBMP was launched in May 2006 at a regional summit of media executives on HIV/AIDS, organized by the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, the Caribbean Broadcasting Union, and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The CBMP is overseen by a Steering Committee of broadcast executives representing a diverse constituency of media houses from Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Belize, and regional organizations Caribbean Media Corporation and Caribbean Broadcasting Union, with strategic and technical guidance and production support from Kaiser.

The Ford Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation provide additional financial support to underwrite production of campaign materials and informational resources.

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