Going Online Over HIV/AIDS Stigma & Engaging People in Care

Going Online Over HIV/AIDS Stigma & Engaging People in Care

September 1, 2009
man hands outstretched

Agencies around the nation are increasingly using online media to speak up about HIV/AIDS stigma and barriers that keep far too many HIV-infected persons from getting and staying in care. Campaigns like these are nothing new as the earliest days of the nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic saw a literal outbreak of Public Service Announcements to break down hysteria over HIV/AIDS, supplementing powerful but isolated voices like those of Ryan White and his mother, Jeanne. However, the following national data document a continued and pressing need for all manner of outreach:

Nearly 21% of the approximately 1 million-plus persons infected with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. remain unaware of their status—a bit better than a few years ago but still persistently high. In addition, 38% of HIV-infected people in the U.S. get their diagnoses late in the course of infection, within a year of developing AIDS, denying them access to effective treatments.

Below are examples of local and state efforts designed to confront stigma and urge individuals to get tested and get in care. These are just a few found within the sea of online resources made possible by easier media technology, Ryan White grantee Web sites, and online resources like YouTube. These efforts often tie into national level campaigns like the long-standing HIV Testing Day and AIDS Awareness Days, along with more recent additions, Act Against AIDS (launched April 2009) and Greater Than, an effort launched Summer 2009 and targeting African Americans.

  • Seattle-King County developed a multi-part media campaign to encourage clients to know their CD4 and viral load test results and take their medications regularly. The first two segments are What's Your Score and Everyday Adherence. The effort was launched January 2009 by the Ryan White Part A Program in response to a 2007 needs assessment finding that a low percentage of respondents knew their most recent test results. The Graphic Design Student Studio class at the Art Institute of Seattle helped develop campaign materials.
  • The Southeast Ohio CARE Consortium, one of 11 Ohio Ryan White Part B consortia, developed the low cost . It currently airs on public access TV in Athens, Ohio.
  • Texas's AIDS Arms developed Faces of Life, an anti-stigma piece for Dallas that also promotes their work in serving persons living with HIV/AIDS.