The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) held a press conference today in New York City to promote the regional launch of the "Protect Yourself" campaign.
A collaboration with Latino Commission on AIDS, Gay Men's Health Crisis, and the LGBT Community Center—all of which were present at the press conference--the campaign builds awareness and education about HIV/AIDS, and is aimed at the millennial generation. National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS and MM4NY are also partners in the public service campaign.
UFC athletes Miesha Tate and Dennis Bermudez are participating spokespeople for "Protect Yourself" and spoke at the conference. They emphasized a decline in media attention to and public awareness about HIV/AIDS over the past decade.
Miesha expressed concern that teens and young adults today will not be as well-educated on the subject as the generation before them. She noted that nearly half of new infections involve people younger than 18 years old and that, given the UFC's youth-heavy audience, Miesha feels "a personal responsibility" to protect their well-being.
UFC representative Jackie Poriadjian explained that the sport will dedicate its social media channels to teaching fans about the infection, getting tested, and prevention. Dennis and Miesha, who said that UFC athletes get tested before every fight, each took home tests during the conference to demonstrate how simple and easy it is.
"Protect Yourself" began in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada in October 2013 and has since launched in Chicago and, now, New York but, according to Jackie, has a reach that is both national and global.