The Prevention Symbol came about through a discussion between Mark Smith and collaborator, Jim Brightwolf. They were exploring the power of symbols and how there was a need to communicate AIDS was a preventable disease. Jim drew a circle with a dot in it and a line across the circle and said how about this as a new AIDS awareness symbol? Mark looked at Jim and said, “That’s not just an AIDS symbol, that’s a prevention symbol!”…the lights came on right then and there.
The goal was to share The Prevention Symbol with the world and see if it would be adopted by youth and educators. If it was to have value it would take on a life of its own, evolve and be adapted to fit the prevention messages being conveyed and focused on.
Following is a brief outline of activities, events, news clippings and letters that have evolved around The Prevention Symbol since its inception:
November 1993 – The Prevention Symbol eureka is first heard.
World AIDS Day 1993 – first public introduction of The Prevention Symbol.
December 1993 – The Prevention Symbol is integrated into the Orange County Chapter of the Red Cross Youth Peer Education Program.
February 1994 – Pictured for the first time in the press on the cover of the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition.
June 1994 – Wins Grand Prize from KCET for its one minute video entry into KCET’s “Teens Making a Difference” competition.
May 1995 – actresses Rene Russo and Julie Kavner lend their support.
February 1996 – receives letter from The White House, Office of National AIDS Policy congratulating and acknowledging The Prevention Symbol Project.
1996 to 2001 – used at concerts such as Lalapalooza; implemented at BoardAID; planted in flowers; created as jewelry; inspires school plays; integrated into educational videos; invited to host State of California, Department of Education’s teen conferences “Lights, Camera, Prevention”; adopted by San Diego City Schools Peer Education Program.
November 2002 to current – University of California, San Francisco, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies and ETR Associates publish “Draw the Line / Respect the Line” as a nationally distributed curriculum for 6th, 7th and 8th grades in both English and Spanish.
You are invited find ways to integrate The Prevention Symbol into your world.
The Prevention Symbol project phase II is a great place to start.