Combatting HIV with Social Media

By Michelle Betton and Nyaka Mwanza | October 8, 2013

HIV/AIDS advocates are using social media to share information around the world.

EGPAF

Social media connects us -- with people we care about, with issues that matter, with stories that move us. For people engaged in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, social media is a powerful tool to educate, advocate, and find support. In this age of viral philanthropy and digital revolution, social media really can change the world.

At the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), we’re rallying our social networks around an issue that matters —eliminating pediatric HIV.

From raising awareness to raising money, from petitioning your Congresswoman to helping shape Millennium Development Goals, social media plays an important role in our global effort of Getting to Zero: zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma.

Thanks to social media, we can reach more people than ever before. Today we can combat stigma with knowledge by educating a broad audience about HIV/AIDS.

We can target high-risk groups—like young people who struggle with coming-of-age issues on top of maintaining their health, and help them navigate social conventions, understand their sexuality, and embrace their future.

Because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, social media platforms like Instagram allow us to visualize data and enrich our stories through videos and images. What better way to show the impact you had on a new mom’s heath, than a picture of her smiling with her healthy baby?

Online communities of support can be a lifeline for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Groups range from HIV education groups to support groups for those who have lost friends and family to AIDS to groups trying to reduce the stigma associated with being HIV-positive.

Organizations and individuals alike are listening to and joining real-time conversations, sharing updates, and breaking news on microblogging site Twitter. Growing online movements like Plus Social Good connect thought leaders, innovators, and advocates--giving individuals like you an active role in shaping the future. Social media is eliminating the barriers that exist between the people making decisions and the people most affected by these decisions. It unites us and helps amplify our collective voice so that when we tell world leaders that we WILL be the generation to end HIV/AIDS, they hear us!

There are 1.1 billion active Facebook users, more than 500 million Twitter users, and 130 million Instagramers—and counting! The immense potential of social media to educate, empower, unite, and inspire a people around the world, is abundantly clear.

Join the conversation and help EGPAF end pediatric AIDS.

CONNECT TODAY: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram today!

Nyaka Mwanza is EGPAF’s Interactive Communications Manager, based in Washington D.C.  EGPAF’s Associate Communications Officer, Michelle Betton, also contributed to this blog.