Birmingham AIDS Outreach has become one of the first AIDS service organizations to release a smartphone app focusing on AIDS education and linking to other state ASOs. The free "BAO" app debuted May 1 at the iTunes store.
BAO has been informing the public on HIV/AIDS since its 1985 inception. Education Director Josh Bruce designed the app to help BAO use social media to "stay up-to-date on the technology ... and stay even better connected" to the community.
Bruce's primary goal was to encourage regular HIV testing, and the app boasts a statewide ASO locator that maps out centers offering free testing and condoms. The app also offers a handy reference guide for HIV/AIDS terms as well as updates on BAO events.
"It acts as an educational app. And also keeping people connected to events that we are having," said Bruce. "We do a lot of collaborations with other organizations -- for example, the AIDS Walk -- that are designed to raise awareness and educate people."
Bruce said "a lot of people have downloaded" and are using the app. He aims to increase its interactivity and upgrade it to encompass testing reminders. Bruce hopes that "when people come in to get tested, they can use their app to go ahead and set the next time they should come in."
BAO's fulltime staff provides prevention, education, testing, and legal services for people living with and/or affected by HIV/AIDS. All BAO services are accessible via the app, which is currently available only on iOS platforms. Bruce said an Android version is being developed and soon will be rolled out.
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