Paterson is the third largest city in New Jersey, and has one of the highest rates in the state of both substance abuse and HIV/AIDS infection among African American and Hispanic/Latino residents. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teens and young adults continue to be at risk, with those under 35 years of age accounting for 56% of new HIV infections in 2010 (those aged 13-24 accounted for 26% and those aged 25-34 accounted for 31%). Most young people are infected sexually. CDC. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report, Vol. 17, No. 4; December 2012.
Through social marketing efforts, Project COPE is committed to educating Paterson adolescents, their families and the community on the connection between substance use and HIV/AIDS. Focus-group interviews conducted with key community stakeholders conveyed that Paterson teens are disgusted with their community and its violence, and have very little hope for their future. Project COPE utilizes social marketing principles to apply health education and empowering messages as a call to action to encourage change. The aim of the Hopeyourself social marketing campaign is to continue the conversation on risk-taking behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual risk, gang involvement, youth violence and juvenile delinquency to reach Paterson teens who have not been reached through our previous direct education efforts.
Hopeyourself utilizes new media platforms to raise awareness and educate our target populations on the many facets of substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.
Campaign goals are:
- Reduce the rates of HIV/AIDS in Paterson adolescents and teens.
- Educate and raise awareness of the real risks of drug use for contracting HIV and encourage audience to share this information with their peers.
- Engage target populations to advocate for and elicit change in their community and in the social and political environment in which decisions on health and health resources are made.
To learn more about Hopeyourself, visit our digital community at: