To coincide with the Dec. 1 designation as World AIDS Day, cable network BET has slated special programming across four days to provide public awareness and focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among the Af

To coincide with the Dec. 1 designation as World AIDS Day, cable network BET has slated special programming across four days to provide public awareness and focus on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among the African American population. While the entertainment centerpiece of the schedule will be the simulcast of sister network MTV's Staying Alive concerts taped in Cape Town, South Africa and Seattle, BET is also planning news features, documentaries and discussions, and a special episode of "BET Tonight With Ed Gordon" about the disease and its impact.

"In 2000, almost two-thirds of all women diagnosed with HIV/AIDS were African American. That's why it is imperative that BET continues to create and disseminate public awareness messages about HIV/AIDS targeted to our African-American community," BET president/CEO Debra Lee said in a statement. "Through various initiatives such as our Rap-It-Up campaign, special programming, and corporate partnerships, we will persist in our fight to educate African Americans and other minorities on the destructive effects of this global epidemic."

Special programming will begin Friday (Nov. 29) with a "BET Nightly News" segment on the progression of HIV/AIDS over the past 20 years and its impact on African Americans. The following day's "HIV, Sex & Me" will feature a teen forum discussion about safe sex and falsehoods associated with at-risk behavior, as well as a performance of the song "Virginity" by TG-4.

Dec. 1 will see "Before You Say Yes: Teens Talk About HIV/AIDS," hosted by BET's Ed Gordon, precede the 1:30 PM ET/PT simulcast of the World AIDS Day concerts. As previously reported, the performances by Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Alicia Keys, and Usher in Cape Town (taped on Nov. 23; see Live Reviews) and Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Michelle Branch, and Dave Matthews in Seattle will air globally on more than 60 outlets.

On Monday, BET will feature recording artists Ashanti and Jill Scott taking part in a special episode of "106 & Park" that will showcase the video for "Let's Talk About AIDS," Salt-N-Pepa remake of its 1991 hit "Let's Talk About Sex." The show will also unveil a new public service announcement that stars Scott and was inspired by a friend of the artist.

That same day, "BET Nightly News" will take a look at the events commemorating World AIDS Day and advances in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, while a special edition of "BET Tonight With Ed Gordon" will examine the epidemic from the female perspective. "Saving Our Sisters: What Black Women Must Know About HIV/AIDS" will feature among its guests disease expert Dr. Marsha Lillie Blanton.

Finally, on Dec. 7, BET will present "The Naked Truth I," an up-close look at a young black male and his feelings about sex, AIDS, and morality. Part of BET's Rap-It-Up/Kaiser Family Foundation partnership, the show will find a group of African-American men discussing topics from AIDS and peer pressure, to the on-going debate of the media's role in promoting premarital sex.