Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- African-Americans make up about 76% of the new HIV/AIDS cases in South Carolina.
Currently, there are about 7000 African-American men in South Carolina that are living with HIV, researchers at U.S.C. are trying to change that through the use of a graphic novel.
"AIDS In The End Zone," tackles the topic of AIDS and AIDS prevention in a illustrated book, the novel was written by teens incarcerated at the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.
According to one of the juveniles, "It talks about AIDS prevention and how to prevent AIDS and it can be a help for kids just from reading this."
Another of the juveniles said, "We all had different viewpoints, input into this graphic novel, so one person may want this and another person wants that, so we had to come to at consensus."
The teens worked together last summer under the direction of Dr. Kendra Albright and Dr. Karen Gavigan of U.S.C., they hope the story will hit home especially with African-American teens who are at risk to contracting HIV.
Dr. Gavigan said, "They created the content and the whole story line was created with them, we also worked with a graphic illustrator who worked with them to draw the characters."
The fictional novel follows teens in a battle for a starting quarterback position at their high school, one of the players sets the other one up with a girl he knows has HIV.
Dr. Albright said, "The story that is presented in our graphic novel tells the story of a young man who unfortunately contracts HIV, but he goes on to live a very normal and healthy life and not only lives a healthy life, a very successful life."
Just like the fictional character in the story, the teens that helped write this novel hope they too will be successful even though some of them have faced difficult situations too.
One of the youth said, "It makes me feel really good, because maybe I will be home one day and I can share this information with children and youth, they can learn something and I had something to do with that.
The book still has to go through some final testing before it is available to the public.
The researchers hope to eventually distribute the novel statewide and nationally, they also hope to tackle other social issues that face at risk populations.