June 27 Is National HIV Testing Day
As the national voice of people living with HIV and AIDS, we at NAPWA take our efforts to promote National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) very seriously and we know you do too. The goal of NHTD is to identify people who are HIV-positive and don't know it so they can access treatment. It also prevents new HIV infections by increasing education, awareness and access to voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Your participation in NHTD can be as simple as adding local testing information to our campaign posters or expanding clinic hours at a testing site. You can also produce a special community event. All NHTD events result in increased awareness about HIV/AIDS and about VCT, so congratulations for taking action!
Top Ten Tips to a Successful NHTD Campaign
Clearly identify your targeted population(s)
You should not expect to reach all at-risk populations with one approach. If your agency targets various communities, you may want to utilize several campaign strategies.
Form partnerships with other community based organizations
Often one well-coordinated event can be more effective than several smaller events in one community. Include agencies who can offer a wide array of services from education and testing to treatment. Many people will get tested at events, such as health fairs, that offer other health screenings. Partnerships can also be with organizations that are not directly related to HIV/AIDS services such as religious organizations, community centers, etc.
Create collaborations with local businesses
Work with popular businesses, such as video rental stores, bars, community centers, etc., to promote your event and to request donations to be used as incentives. For example: One NHTD campaign offered ice cream cones to youth when they received pre-test counseling and testing, and gave movie tickets to those who returned for post-test counseling and results. Another organization gave out free bags of groceries when people returned.
Utilize various media outlets
Contact local newspapers, radio and television stations to publicize your event. For more information on how to write a press release and how to pitch a story, go to our website at www.napwa.org.
Get a celebrity or local public figure to participate in your event
One way to ensure more public exposure of your event is by securing a celebrity to talk about the importance of accessing VCT and healthcare. To reduce HIV stigma and to encourage testing, some events have also featured celebrities publicly taking an HIV test. Public figures include well-known politicians, activists and teachers, as well as radio, TV and sports personalities.
Feature people living with HIV/AIDS as spokespersons
Increasing visibility of HIV-positive individuals raises awareness and reduces HIV stigma. This also sends a powerful message of hope to those who test positive, and it reminds HIV-negative people that staying negative is one of the most important things they can do for themselves and their loved ones.
Take your NHTD event into local communities
Many organizations have found creative ways to take the message into their targeted communities. Examples include having educators conduct VCT awareness in buses and hosting a nightclub-style event with VCT onsite.
Organize a fundraiser or seek sponsorships for your event
Many prevention programs have no funds allocated to promote VCT services. Often sending a letter requesting donations and approaching corporations and small businesses can get you enough money to put on an event.
Document -- and if possible evaluate -- your event
The success of your NHTD event can be measured in many ways. For example: record the number of people who receive VCT before, during and shortly after your campaign; keep track of the number of people who test positive and are connected to care; assess new collaborations and increased skills that resulted from this event.
Share and publicize your achievements
Take some time to compile the highlights of your event and send them to your collaborators and to us. Media and other agencies contact us wanting to know what's happening around the country. This can help inspire other communities and it can help you for funding purposes. Email us at email@example.com.