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2011 NHPC: Connecting HIV Prevention Professionals through Social Media

By Bob Kohmescher, 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference Coordinator, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) Exit Disclaimer Talk HIV Exit Disclaimer will be held in Atlanta, August 14-17. The conference will contribute to achieving the three major goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and these goals are reflected in the conference theme “The Urgency of Now: Reduce incidence. Improve access. Promote equity.” We want you to share your significant work in HIV prevention. We encourage you to submit an abstract Exit Disclaimer to the conference (deadline, February 4, 2011).

As we plan for the conference, we are looking at the next generation of HIV prevention leaders for inspiration on new methods of reaching at-risk populations and youth where they receive messages. Exploring the possibilities of social media allows prevention partners to learn from these innovative young public health professionals and help learn how to bridge a gap in prevention education and communication. This is particularly important as we look for the best ways to achieve the goals of the National Strategy.

Social media prevention campaigns are fast becoming a powerful channel to reach young consumers of health information, namely in the way of peer-to-peer online education. For example, through the Talk HIV Exit Disclaimer phase of the Act Against AIDS Exit Disclaimer campaign, CDC is leveraging social media to encourage open and honest conversations about HIV/AIDS and drive discussion both online and offline. 

During this past year, we have seen how social media has also played an integral role in helping new and experienced HIV prevention professionals engage in pivotal discussions on HIV prevention, share the latest resources, and network with colleagues at conferences. During the 2011 NHPC, we hope to engage attendees to join in the discussions throughout the conference and share their experiences with their colleagues and the next generation of HIV prevention leaders. We encourage all professionals to take their years of experience in working with HIV, whether just a few years or 30, and share it with their colleagues and a new set of public health professionals working to find new ways to educate people about the disease.

Highlighting Young Innovators  This year’s NHPC will highlight the work of these young innovators in HIV research, prevention, and/or policy to encourage their continued contribution to the field of HIV prevention. To be considered for this recognition, new researchers should be under 30 years old and are required to submit a completed Sponsored Participant Application by the abstract submission deadline of February 4, 2011.

Follow us on Twitter.  You can follow the conference on Twitter at www.twitter.com/2011NHPC Exit Disclaimer for important conference reminders and news. Search Twitter using hashtag #2011NHPC to follow the conversations about the conference and include the hashtag in all of your conference-related tweets.

AIDS.gov note: Speaking of conferences, the International AIDS Society recently released its report on the 2011 International AIDS Conference in Vienna. Check out page 22 to read about how they used (and evaluated) social media at the conference.