When Scott Hoeninger’s high school civics class required 12 hours of community service, he gave more than 100. “I got a lot of extra-credit points,” he says. But now the 18-year-old junior is less likely to give an apple to a favorite teacher than to hand a classmate a condom with a safe-sex rap. Hoeninger’s latest project was a concert to raise cash and consciousness about HIV among teens in his hometown of Kirkwood, Missouri. “I see the stereotypes and misconceptions people have about HIV,” he says. “Even when I want to stay quiet and not stand up, I just do it.” The half-day event in May, called AIDStock, featured six local bands and gave AIDS groups an opportunity to offer literature and rubbers to students. Hoeninger and his friends sold $3 tickets—raising $1,700 for local and national AIDS organizations—and called and e-mailed local media outlets to get free publicity. “We nagged and nagged,” he says.
Hoeninger’s AIDS activism started in 1999 when the then–sophomore class president spent his summer vacation paired with an HIV positive kid in a hospital volunteer program. “It got me thinking, ‘I’ve got the power to get my voice heard,’” he says. So to mark World AIDS Day, Hoeninger and friends Courtney Leong and Blythe Terrell started a club with the school nurse, Tricia Fleming, and wrote a flyer about HIV for their fellow students. Complete with graphic details about correct condom use for vaginal, oral and anal sex, it.