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Positive Policy:

Reaching the Right People With the Right Tools for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Deb LeBel

February 3, 2010

This article was cross-posted from the AIDS.gov blog.

HIV/AIDS Prevention: A Choice and a Lifestyle. Save the Date, 2/7/2010. National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

I recently had a conversation with LaMont "Montee" Evans of Healthy Black Communities to talk about plans for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). On February 7, 2010, the nation will recognize NBHAAD for the 10th year. Evans serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Healthy Black Communities, Inc., the lead organization on the Strategic Leadership Council (SLC) which plans and directs this day annually. This year's theme is "HIV/AIDS Prevention: A Choice and Lifestyle."

In thinking about the longevity of this observance, I wondered how SLC's methods and strategies have changed over time. My thoughts went to Forrester Research's POST model, which we've mentioned before -- so I asked Montee to talk briefly about the people they are trying to reach for NBHAAD, their objectives and strategies, and what tools best meet their needs.

I asked Montee how NBHAAD's target audiences have changed over the years. He said, "When we first started in 2001, we focused on seven cities. Now our audience includes 40+ states and six countries and is steadily growing. Our target audiences are multigenerational and range from those familiar with today's technology to those who have never used a computer or access to online services."

Montee named four key NBHAAD objectives:

  1. Improve knowledge about HIV/AIDS prevalence in Black communities.
  2. Normalize February 7 as an annual day for individuals, friends, and groups to get tested for HIV.
  3. Motivate more individuals to get involved in their local communities to respond to the epidemic.
  4. Connect those newly testing positive or currently living with HIV and AIDS with care and treatment.

In terms of strategy, SLC offers planning resources to help local NBHAAD planners expand NBHAAD's reach and engage their target audiences in year-round dialogue.

Where does this bring NBHAAD this year in terms of adopting new tools? SLC is working with a diverse group of people across the country and around the world. They want to share updates and foster conversation -- and they know many of the people they are trying to reach are already using online social networks. For all these reasons, Montee says, "Our best new media tool has been a Facebook Group Page with more than 1,300 individuals who actively participate. We also use Yahoo, AIM, Google Chat, and MSN as platforms for individuals to get online technical support for NBHAAD and for their planning efforts. We try to stay abreast of the various online and social networking platforms and use them to mobilize our target audiences."

I encourage you to take part in whatever way you can and to check out all the tools on the newly redesigned NBHAAD site. You can register your NBHAAD events and find a local event to attend. I'm excited to see the results of SLC's strategic approach in getting the word out for NBHAAD. For other resources about the epidemic in minority communities, check out the CDC's Act Against AIDS campaign, which aims to reduce HIV incidence in the United States. To find an HIV testing site near you, please visit: http://hivtest.org.

A question for all of you: What does "HIV/AIDS Prevention: A Choice and Lifestyle" mean to you?

See Also
More Views on HIV/AIDS in the African-American Community

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