Today's New York Times highlighted www.posornot.com, a new web-based game sponsored by MTV's college network (MTVu) and the Kaiser Family Foundation that seeks to promote counseling and testing, increase accurate risk perception, and reduce stigma around HIV.
The game presents a series of brief profiles of men and women between the ages of 21 and 45 (with photos), and asks players to guess whether they are HIV positive or negative.
Pos or Not, which was launched in late April, has been played 5.1 million times by 500,000 people in its first three weeks, according to MTV.
One of the things you'll notice if you access the game is that, while HIV positives are quoted talking about how they became infected or how they learned their status, many of the HIV negatives are cited offering impersonal platitudes about the importance of testing or addressing the global HIV epidemic. The contrast between the two groups is marked, and begs the question: is this simply reflective of the way that people tend to respond to negative and positive test results, or a missed opportunity on the part of MTVu to highlight more personal, resonant aspects of HIV negative participants' commentaries? Given the difficulty in changing behavior among HIV negatives through counseling and testing, Pos or Not could have better highlighted the positive deviants - those who tested negative and were inspired to change their behavior.
For the full article, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/business/media/19mtv.html