MTV today announced that the network will air "I'm Positive," a 60-minute special produced by DrDrew Productions and Octagon Entertainment on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT, with a simulcast on MTV Tr3s. "I'm Positive" goes inside the lives of three young people from around the country who are HIV positive. Although each faces struggles that are part of living with this virus, they all work to maintain a positive outlook on life, while taking steps to remain healthy and to stop the spread of HIV.
Presented under the "GYT: Get Yourself Tested" campaign, which is part of MTV's 15-year public information partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, "I'm Positive" dispels common myths and stereotypes associated with HIV.
"I'm honored to team with MTV to shine a spotlight on the important topic of young people living with HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Drew. "Through accurate portrayals and powerful storytelling, 'I'm Positive' will raise awareness, decrease stigma and hopefully enhance healthy behaviors."
"If an AIDS free future is to be achieved, as many experts now say is possible, this generation of young people must be involved," said Tina Hoff, Senior Vice President and Director, Health Communication & Media Partnerships, Kaiser Family Foundation. "'I'm Positive' builds on our partnership with MTV to engage and inform young people on the critical issues in their lives, which includes preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS."
"I'm Positive" will document the powerful stories of Kelly from California, Otis from Texas and Stephanie from North Carolina:
Kelly is a true California girl – she's laid-back, funny, artsy, and loves hanging out with her friends. Kelly is also HIV positive. For six months now, she's been dating Aaron, who is HIV negative. Their relationship moved fast, and has been increasingly rocky. They are now trying to figure out the next step – whether that's breaking up or staying together.
Stephanie is a confident, single Southern belle who found out that she was HIV positive when she was just 19 years old. She contracted the virus after having unprotected sex just once with a partner. While HIV is a part of her daily life, it doesn't define who she is – she still struggles with the everyday challenges of relationships with family and friends.
As the oldest child in a large, close-knit family, Otis feels like he has to set an example for his younger siblings. That's why it was hard for him to tell his family he is HIV positive, after having just come out as gay the year before. Currently, Otis is in a serious relationship with his boyfriend, Kanjhe, and they are both committed to making sure that he stays HIV negative.
"I'm Positive" will be followed by an After-Show special hosted by Dr. Drew, which will air exclusively on MTV.com. In the special, Dr. Drew will sit down with Kelly, Otis and Stephanie in front of a small studio audience to discuss their experiences living with HIV and dive deeper into how young people can protect themselves.
Two in five new HIV infections occurring in the U.S. each year are among people ages 13-29. Of the more than 1.1 million Americans living with HIV today, one in five is unaware that they are infected. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also reports that only one in four of those who are positive in the U.S. has their virus "under control." Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives and helps to prevent the spread of HIV. To take action, young people can head to GYTNOW.org or text their zip code to GYTNOW (498669) to locate a local testing center near them.