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COMMUNITY NEWS: SOUTHWEST

JEFFERSON PARK : AIDS Billboards Target Teen-Agers

March 21, 1993|ERIN J. AUBRY

Billboards warning teen-agers about the dangers of AIDS are going up throughout Central Los Angeles, with the newest one unveiled last week in Jefferson Park.

The billboards, which target the black community, show cardiologist and AIDS specialist Dr. James Mays with the caption, "If not abstinence . . . caution." The billboards also include a bright yellow traffic sign reading: "Caution Condoms."

"It's important that the billboards are going up in places where kids are at," said 17-year-old Winonia M. Carter, founder of the Los Angeles-based teen-ager advocacy group Project Peace-16. "It'll constantly give them something to think about. They'll see it, and maybe the message of being careful will stick in their heads."

The billboards are sponsored by Caution Condoms and the Adopt-a-Family Endowment, a black-professional mentoring group founded by Mays. Metropolitan Billboards discounted its rates 50% for the project.

About 50 billboards are going up countywide, 35 of them in Central Los Angeles.

Mays said the concept--using a local role model to deliver the anti-AIDS message--stems from the one used by his mentoring group, which matches black professionals with families.

"It's making a difference. One young woman told me my eyes followed her and eventually made her get condoms," said Mays, a community activist who has five practices in South and Central Los Angeles. "It definitely makes you stop and think for a second."

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