Texts Used to Tackle South Africa HIV Crisis
December 12, 2008
An ambitious HIV awareness campaign will send 1 million free text messages to educate South African cell phone users about HIV/AIDS and encourage them to get tested. Developed by Pop!Tech, Project Masiluleke's launch is set for February.
One Project Masiluleke message says "Frequently sick, tired, losing weight and scared that you might be HIV positive? Please call AIDS Helpline 0800012322." In addition to English, the messages are also transmitted in other local languages such as Zulu. Trained operators provide accurate health information and referrals to local testing sites. Pilot testing in October was successful, organizers said.
"We have observed a dramatic increase in the call rate to the AIDS Helpline -- from approximately 1,300 calls per day to a new average of 3,600," said Milo Zama, projects development manager for Lifeline, one of the campaign's partners.
Project organizers hope to secure funding to expand the service beyond South Africa.
12.01.2008; Stephanie Busari
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.