Microgrant Awardees: Responding to the Epidemic through New Media

Content From: Deb LeBel, Partnerships Specialist, AIDS.govPublished: October 19, 20104 min read


In our final post of the microgrant series (AWBS) built on its Stop HIV/AIDS and Addiction through Prevention and Education (S.H.A.P.E) program. Working with several diverse partners, the Wayne County Women Webberz Health Project (WC3 Health) reached Arab, Chaldean, Hispanic and homeless women over 50 with prevention and education followup through a blogExit Disclaimer, FacebookExit Disclaimer, and TwitterExit Disclaimer. After training participants to use social media, AWBS answered HIV and substance use questions on a blog and privately online. S.H.A.P.E. staff look forward to training more women, having learned that participants vary widely in their interest in adapting new media.

UCSF’s Center of Excellence for Transgender HealthExit Disclaimer has been a leader in national efforts to increase access to culturally competent health care for transgender people. In recognizing the growing use of new media to engage communities, the Center worked on developing its new media communications plan. The staff learned that new media is an effective way to repurpose and disseminate content consistent with their mission. The Center will continue to build and enact their plan, first through Facebook, Twitter, a blog and widgets and then through long term activities (YouTube, E-news, and maps).

Two projects address agency visibility among wide audiences. The IHub project of the Alameda County Public Health Department - Office of AIDS AdministrationExit Disclaimer is creating a new online health and epidemiological information resource for local consumers, providers, and the public. The staff is promoting its new FacebookExit Disclaimer page and will soon launch IHub.

Through its Take Action project, ActionAIDSExit Disclaimer wanted to boost community awareness of HIV prevention, testing and care options in Philadelphia. Website updates and enhanced HIV content on their FacebookExit Disclaimer page lent the agency greater visibility. Action AIDS became part of 57 HIV, charity, or local Twitter lists. A public service announcement on HIV testing will debut soon on their site and on Facebook. Since developing a more cohesive new media strategy, Action AIDS has documented an increase in phone inquiries for services. The agency sees social media as a way to share critical messages with consumers, AIDS service organizations and policy makers.Harm Reduction CoalitionExit Disclaimer (HRC) designed its new media project After Party — A Social Marketing Campaign to reach young adults age 18-29, especially African Americans and Latinos, and men who have sex with men. The Coalition is finalizing four 60-second videos for YouTube and Facebook to promote condom use in the context of alcohol and substance use. Daniel Raymond of HRC shared several video-specific lessons including “the importance of setting ..(a)... realistic timeline....; garnering and incorporating early and on-going feedback from advisers, stakeholders, and target audience members...and dedicating extensive time to provide input and direction to all aspects of the video production process.”

Pennsylvania State University Hershey Medical CenterExit Disclaimer incorporated Facebook and Twitter to reach individuals with HIV and those who may be at risk. The staff created a public informational page on FacebookExit Disclaimer called OPT-IN (Opportunities to Prevent Transmission), an OPT-In Twitter pageExit Disclaimer, and an IN-SITE (Seeking Information Thru Education) Facebook group (a private space for clients for online support). Other work included updating their website. The Center will continue to develop these sites, and in the future may use the Facebook group to ask their patients about what does and does not work regarding their clinical operations. This program taught the staff that “social media is a new mechanism and is constantly evolving.”

In concluding this series, it is important to recognize how much new media is changing, and can change programs and the people who are being reached and served. Each of these funded programs moved ahead in adopting the use of new media. Each recognized a place for new media in supporting its mission. My hope is that these achievements will inspire your program to think about modifying your communications plan (PDF, 574 KB) to include new media strategies to better reach and serve those affected and at risk in your community. Please let us know what you are doing to keep up with new media!