National HIV Testing Day is June 27th. For the last two years we've used widgets as a way to share testing messages, resources and stories. This year we launched the HIV/AIDS prevention and services locator widget to help connect people not only to HIV testing sites, but to other support services, like housing, mental health, substance abuse, and treatment.
For National HIV Testing Day last year we used a widget to share personal stories about getting an HIV test and people from Denver to Louisiana shared their stories and the director of HIV.gov, Miguel Gomez, created and shared his video about what taking an HIV test meant to him. Even President Obama shared a video of he and Michelle getting an HIV test in Kenya back in 2006 and also reiterated the importance of getting a test today.
Personal stories are very powerful, whether it's a written story, a video, or simply a photo. I'm from Trinidad and telling one's own story is a large part of Caribbean culture and my own heritage. Since today, June 8th, is National Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NCAHAAD), I've put together this video to show you some of the steps to creating a video that can tell YOUR story.
First, it's important to plan ahead and reflect on what you want to say in your video. Try putting together a simple list of talking points you feel are important. For instance, today is NCAHAAD, and I'm from Trinidad. Do I have personal examples of how HIV/AIDS has effected friends, family, or my life? Why is it important to ask the audience to think about getting tested?
Once you have an idea of what you want to say and what you want to accomplish, you can get to the fun part and record. We often use a Flip camera here at HIV.gov, but you can use a web camera, digital camera, or even your cell phone. One of the benefits of new media is that it doesn't require thousands of dollars in equipment to tell the world your story.
Now that you have your story recorded, it is time to review and edit. There is a variety of editing software available such as iMovie , Adobe Premiere Elements , Final Cut Express , and many others. Some of them are inexpensive or may even have been included with your camera! With a little practice, you will be editing in no time.
However, just because your message is going to be uploaded to the internet, doesn't mean that it is accessible to everyone. Accessibility is a priority to us at HIV.gov, so we caption all our videos for people who may be hearing impaired and to make our information accessible to individuals with disabilities. One free software tool to use is Magpie , but there are other options available. YouTube has an automated system and a captioning option may be included with your video editing software.
Now you are ready for the best part, to share and engage. Once you have recorded, edited, and captioned your story, it is time to share it. You can upload it to YouTube and allow only your friends or family to view it, by making it private, or you can make it public and share your story with the world. Don't stop there! There's Google Video , Myspace , Facebook , Twitter, and many other ways to share your video and message.
New media has made telling and sharing our stories easier than ever before! We will continue to write about more ways to spread your story in future blog posts. Do you have an HIV testing story? Do you think you could put together something for National HIV Testing Day this month? We would love to see it!