Missouri State Health Department Adapts “I am a Work of ART” Viral Suppression Campaign
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has adapted the “I am a Work of ART” viral suppression campaign as part of a statewide effort to engage people in HIV care. The HHS’ Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy launched the community-informed national HIV campaign featuring people with lived experience in 2022 to support the Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. initiative. The campaign encourages people with HIV who are not in care to seek care, stay in care, and achieve viral suppression through antiretroviral therapy (ART).
“This campaign aligns with the work that the state is doing to increase viral suppression,” said Rebecca Bax, EHE Grants Coordinator for the Missouri DHSS. “We make every effort to use content that is already available. HIV.gov has already done that work and they have a reputation that we’re also going to co-brand with them. That seal of approval is important.” The campaign will launch in early 2024 and is part of a larger project addressing Missouri residents who are not in HIV care.
The state health department has trained EHE coordinators to offer expanded financial assistance for people living with HIV who do not qualify for Ryan White. The next step is to engage and train Missouri’s HIV Lost to Care, Retention in Care and Peer Navigators to expand re-engagement in care for people living with HIV who previously received Ryan White services.
DHSS syndicated four HIV.gov pages that appear on the campaign landing page. QR codes on campaign material will route people to those pages, which will have the 1-800 number linking individuals to care. Ms. Bax said they plan to update the campaign’s images and keep the existing copy, which aligns with their existing messages and noted, “We want to capture the diversity within the groups we serve to reflect the populations back to themselves. The copy and inclusive language is great. We don’t have to do any rewrites. It really fits what we need.”
Campaign Strategy Tailored to Each Region
DHSS is planning social and digital media, including YouTube ads, as well as bus tags and billboards in metropolitan areas. In rural areas, they are not able to use bus tags and billboards, so they will work with local public health agencies and their lead regional agencies. Campaign materials such as discreet rack cards with QR codes that link to the website would be disseminated in test kits and harm reduction kits, and also shared with faith-based organizations.
“We’re being very intentional and thoughtful about the campaign and how we roll it out from start to finish, tailoring it to the regions,” she said. “We do have EHE funds because of the burden on our rural communities and we recognize that. We have to be more thoughtful about rural areas and how we get that information to them.”
“I am a Work of ART” campaign materials are free and available for download from this HIV.gov page. Materials can be used to implement an “I am a Work of ART” campaign or to supplement ongoing efforts to end the HIV epidemic.