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Social Media at the 2010 HIV Prevention Leadership Summit

By Meico Whitlock, AIDS.gov Fellow

Earlier this month, we attended the 2010 HIV Prevention Leadership Summit Exit Disclaimer in Washington, D.C. The Summit brought together grantees funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, community planning group (CPG) members, capacity building assistance providers, community-based organizations, and other interested HIV prevention partners to share innovative strategies and lessons learned for enhancing HIV prevention programs.

Over the course of the four-day summit, we had an opportunity to learn how Federal and community partners are using new media to bolster HIV prevention efforts. During the session, “CBOs, Social Networking/Social Marketing, and HIV Prevention ProgramsExit Disclaimer, CDC Health Communication Specialist Booker Daniels provided an overview of the current social media landscape and illustrated how national campaigns such as Act Against AIDS Exit Disclaimer and Facing AIDS are leveraging Facebook Exit Disclaimer, Twitter Exit Disclaimer, and Flickr Exit Disclaimer to engage communities on the issue of HIV prevention. Gina Larco and Anthony Contreras, Outreach Specialists at Tarzana Treatment Centers Exit Disclaimer, shared lessons learned from using social marketing as a tool to reach youth in their community. Gina and Anthony stressed the importance of getting to know your audience before developing a strategy and selecting tools—something we have talked about in previous posts here and here. Brian Toynes of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) Exit Disclaimer talked about the challenges of launching social marketing campaigns like “I Love My Boo” to challenge stigma and homophobia and pointed to the need to understand the relationship between online and offline social networks.

We also co-hosted a Twitter session with CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) Exit Disclaimer during which we provided an overview of Twitter and discussed potential uses for community partners. The session provided an opportunity for conference participants with varying skill levels to share ideas about how to make the most of Twitter.

Lastly, we caught up with two AIDS.gov New Media Microgrant Awardees. Both the St. Hope Foundation Exit Disclaimer and the HIV/AIDS Resource Center (HARC) Exit Disclaimer have developed new media projects aimed at reaching young men of color in their communities and were thrilled to share their experiences and learn how their peers from across the nation are using new media in response to HIV.

Overall, the Summit was a great opportunity to learn about social media from the perspective of Federal and community partners, and we were inspired by the range programs examples at the national, state, and local levels.