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December 2008

December 30, 2008


Looking Back: Lessons learned from the AIDS.gov team

Podcast of this blog post

This has been a busy year for AIDS.gov! We have learned along with you about the potential of using new media to respond to HIV. You've told us how you are using new media - sharing the challenges you've faced and the lessons you've learned. This week we turn the tables - what have we learned this year? Here are some thoughts from the AIDS.gov team:

Miguel GomezMiguel Gomez, AIDS.gov Director
I learned that many of my colleagues who are working on HIV/AIDS are in the same place I was a year ago - they can't define "new media" and they don't yet know how to use new media tools to improve their effectiveness. In fact, I've learned that we are all scrambling to catch up with a lot of our friends and family members who are living with HIV and who are already using new media tools to connect with each other. They are accessing information on HIV/AIDS from a variety of sources (e.g., blogs and the virtual world of Second Life) and using social network sites for support. The connections they make using new media tools help solve real-life problems and answer their questions about HIV/AIDS in an environment that often feels safe, informative, and free of stigma.

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December 23, 2008


Happy, Healthy eHolidays: Using e-cards to connect and inform

Podcast of this blog post

Season’s greetings from AIDS.gov! As the year comes to a close, we’ve been enjoying the e-cards arriving in our e-mail inboxes. But what are e-cards? And - aside from connecting us with friends and colleagues - how can we use them to respond to HIV?

We looked to Ann Aiken, Health Communications Specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Deb Levine from Internet Sexuality Information Services Exit Disclaimer (ISIS) to learn more.

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December 16, 2008


Picture This: Intro to Photo Sharing for HIV/AIDS

Podcast of this blog post

A photograph can send a powerful message. Photo sharing Exit Disclaimer has become an important new media tool that allows you not only to upload, store, and organize your photos, but also allows you to tag, share, and discuss them with your online community. Once again, we turn to Common Craft Exit Disclaimer to explain “Online Photo Sharing in Plain English Exit Disclaimer”:

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December 09, 2008


World AIDS Day 2008: The Power of YOU

Podcast of this blog post

December 1 marked the 20th annual observance of World AIDS Day Exit Disclaimer. At AIDS.gov, we used several new media tools to commemorate this day. We invited you to blog, to upload photos of yourself wearing a red ribbon to social network sites, and to join us in the virtual world of Second Life. But today’s blog post is not so much about what we did—it’s about YOU.

Facing AIDS

We asked you to help reduce HIV stigma by posting a photo of yourself wearing a red ribbon to your online social networks--showing that you care about HIV/AIDS and helping to promote HIV testing.

How YOU responded

You responded in full force. Nearly 700 of you joined the Facebook group Exit Disclaimer, and 460 RSVP’d for the Facebook event. Exit Disclaimer In addition nearly 200 of you posted photos to the Flickr Exit Disclaimer group. You passed the word to your friends, and you posted discussions and comments about what World AIDS Day means to you. Avatars in Second Life, drag queens in England, and our parents in the Midwest sent us photos. Our colleagues at the CDC took great initiative in generating a workplace photo response--even CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding uploaded a photo! One of you took a photo of the Empire State building lit up with red lights, and another submitted a photo of your son who died of an AIDS-related illness. Some of the photos are below - and we encourage you to visit our Flickr page to see many more. Also, if you haven’t already, it’s not too late to upload your photo!

Bloggers Unite

We partnered with NIDA and Bloggers Unite Exit Disclaimer to encourage bloggers to dedicate their posts on December 1 to HIV/AIDS.

How YOU responded

You responded with posts more powerful (and plentiful) than we could have anticipated. We are still reading all the posts and following the conversations Exit Disclaimer you generated. You got the word out, told your stories, linked to resources, and told your communities, your friends, families, and readers why HIV/AIDS matters to you. Some of the bloggers that inspire the AIDS.gov team, like Beth Kanter Exit Disclaimer and NTEN’s Holly Ross Exit Disclaimer, also dedicated their blog to World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day in Second Life

Our colleagues in Second Life invited us to speak at the opening of Karuna Exit Disclaimer, the first island in Second Life solely dedicated to HIV/AIDS information, support, and education. We accepted the invitation and created our avatars, virtual posters, and note cards for the event.

How YOU responded

Almost 500 people (or rather, their avatars) visited Karuna on World AIDS Day - and for many of you it was your first time exploring this virtual world. Our colleagues in Atlanta, Maryland, Virginia, California, and North Carolina created their own avatars and took the unfamiliar plunge into Second Life. People who had lost friends and loved ones came to the event to share their stories and remember.

But that’s not all...

There were many, many other World AIDS Day events and activities that involved new media. We were inspired by the following examples - a small sample of the many:

YOU make the difference.

Thank you. For caring enough to take photos. For telling your friends. For telling your stories about HIV/AIDS. For embracing new media for social change.

We were inspired by your creativity and compassion. YOUR involvement in the many World AIDS Day 2008 new media activities demonstrated the potential power of new media. But more importantly, it shows the power of YOU.

Now what?

We learned a lot from you this World AIDS Day - and we have a lot more to learn. Now that the dust has settled, we’re taking the time to ask ourselves: moving forward, how should we use new media to respond to HIV/AIDS? What worked well? What could have worked better? What do YOU think?

December 01, 2008


A World AIDS Day Message to our Colleagues

World AIDS Day, Dec 1 2008

Today marks the twentieth World AIDS Day—it’s a day for all of us to come together to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, to remember those we’ve lost, and to acknowledge those working to respond to this epidemic.

HIV/AIDS affects everyone, but as CDC’s Dr. Kevin Fenton reminded us in his statement for World AIDS Day, “Several U.S. populations bear the greatest burden of HIV. The impact is most severe for gay and bisexual men, who account for approximately half of new infections and of those living with HIV. Some minority communities are also disproportionately affected by the disease, with African-Americans becoming infected at seven times the rate of whites, and Hispanics at three times the rate of whites.”

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