DETROIT--()--These are definitely not your typical avatars. There’s a beefy flying Hero in an evening gown with wings and a book of knowledge. A Hero Sidekick with a natty vest, gladiator skirt and a rainbow emblem. A female Hero with studded tights, a princess bouffant and a giant condom shield.
“Super heroes and social media bring together both ‘new’ and the ‘fight.’”
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, a new site with sexy avatars fighting AIDS is being launched by StatusSexy™, a program of AIDS Partnership Michigan (APM). StatusSexy Heroes have been specifically developed to appeal to young black gay, same-gender loving men and transgender women, with “inside” style and cultural references. “This is a new generation who’s grown up with HIV all around them. The young people that drive this campaign wanted a new way to fight AIDS” said Wil Bowen, Program Coordinator. “Super heroes and social media bring together both ‘new’ and the ‘fight.’” Toward that end, StatusSexy Heroes are colorful, sexy, and fun. Other unusual avatar features include a choice of different body styles and backgrounds, Hero nameplates and the ability to add text. There are over a billion possible combinations.
To encourage safety and prevention, visitors can even add a message to the world about HIV/AIDS in a text balloon. They can also sign up for auto reminders for their next HIV tests, share their heroes on Facebook, add comments and vote for their favorites. In addition, a branded StatusSexy hero occasionally interrupts visitors with info about HIV and prevention tips.
The new StatusSexy Heroes were conceived and developed by Detroit-area marketing agency And So She Wrote™ in collaboration with the StatusSexy team and the REC Boyz. Programming and illustrations were done by Mercury Studio.
The StatusSexy Heroes microsite can be found at http://avatars.statussexy.com
ABOUT STATUS SEXY
StatusSexy, a program of AIDS Partnership Michigan and funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health, was launched in 2011. Its goal is decreasing stigma surrounding HIV and encouraging prevention among young black males through positive messaging and community involvement. Since then the group has sponsored or been part of over 120 events, encouraged 1000s of people to be tested, and generated a following of nearly 1100 Facebook fans. The StatusSexy Heroes addition rounds out the main StatusSexy site, which recently added a free condom locator as well as information on ways people can get involved.
ABOUT AIDS PARTNERSHIP MICHIGAN
One of Michigan’s most respected AIDS organizations, AIDS Partnership Michigan has been fighting HIV/AIDS for 30 years. APM offers a range of effective prevention programs including support groups, youth groups, workshops for various affected and infected individuals, as well as manning the Michigan HIV/STD hotline. They conduct on-site and community-wide HIV testing and counseling as well as providing case management services for people living with HIV/AIDS in Southeast Michigan.