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Social Media: Going Viral Against HIV and STIs

Social media are transforming the ways that people communicate, learn, and take action.

The AIDS Institute of the New York State Department of Health is transforming the ways that it plans health communications strategies and integrates social media into its arsenal of tools for combating HIV and STDs.

The AIDS Institute has undertaken a number of initiatives to examine how social media can be used to expand the impact of HIV and STD services in New York.

These include two major forums, which were free to community-based organizations, health facilities, and agencies that provide HIV/STD education, prevention, care, and treatment. [Click on tabs at left for complete information, including webcasts, slides, agenda, speaker information, and resources.]

  • The first event was an all day Forum for 200 participants, held on December 7, 2010, in conjunction with a federal partner AIDS.gov. It outlined the value of social media, provided detailed information about specific platforms, highlighted successful programs, and encouraged the planning, implementation, and evaluation of social media programs.
  • Presenters included distinguished speakers from federal, state, and local agencies, nationally known health facilities and media campaigns, academic centers, and small community organizations.
  • The second Forum was a half-day event for more than 100 participants, held Dec 8, 2011, also in conjunction with AIDS.gov. Taking a broad view of health communications and the role of social media, it focused on more effective message development and consumer engagement.
  • Three experts outlined principles of social marketing, how to structure consumer choices for behavior change, the CDC's new online public health message development tool, and more refined ways to consider ethnicity and culture.

The AIDS Institute also:

  • Sponsored a Facebook/Live Town Hall on Nov. 29, 2011 as part of World AIDS Day activities. It featured a panel of three experts on sexual health and substance use in young people.
  • Undertook a strategic planning process to consider how social media can be used in planning, funding, and evaluating HIV/STD programs.
  • Maintains a standing Social Media Workgroup and several subcommittees.
  • Has made presentations on social media and HIV/STDs to a number of groups throughout New York State.
  • Offers activities to educate and engage AIDS Institute staff about the use of social media by organizations funded for HIV/STD services, including presentations introducing social media and its potential, workshops on specific platforms, live webcasts of forums, and focus groups on social media and health communications strategies.
  • Has conducted surveys of forum participants, providers, and AI staff about social media use and evaluation of speaker presentations and workshops.
AIDS Institute