World AIDS Day 2008: The Power of YOU


Javascript and flash are required to play this audio file.

Download MP3

December 1 marked the 20th annual observance of World AIDS Day Exit Disclaimer. At, we used several new media tools to commemorate this day. We invited you to blog, to upload photos of yourself wearing a red ribbon to social network sites, and to join us in the virtual world of Second Life. But today’s blog post is not so much about what we did—it’s about YOU.

Facing AIDS

We asked you to help reduce HIV stigma by posting a photo of yourself wearing a red ribbon to your online social networks–showing that you care about HIV/AIDS and helping to promote HIV testing.

How YOU responded

You responded in full force. Nearly 700 of you joined the Facebook group Exit Disclaimer, and 460 RSVP’d for the Facebook event. Exit Disclaimer In addition nearly 200 of you posted photos to the Flickr Exit Disclaimer group. You passed the word to your friends, and you posted discussions and comments about what World AIDS Day means to you. Avatars in Second Life, drag queens in England, and our parents in the Midwest sent us photos. Our colleagues at the CDC took great initiative in generating a workplace photo response–even CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding uploaded a photo! One of you took a photo of the Empire State building lit up with red lights, and another submitted a photo of your son who died of an AIDS-related illness. Some of the photos are below – and we encourage you to visit our Flickr page to see many more. Also, if you haven’t already, it’s not too late to upload your photo!

Bloggers Unite

We partnered with NIDA and Bloggers Unite Exit Disclaimer to encourage bloggers to dedicate their posts on December 1 to HIV/AIDS.

How YOU responded

You responded with posts more powerful (and plentiful) than we could have anticipated. We are still reading all the posts and following the conversations Exit Disclaimer you generated. You got the word out, told your stories, linked to resources, and told your communities, your friends, families, and readers why HIV/AIDS matters to you. Some of the bloggers that inspire the team, like Beth Kanter Exit Disclaimer and NTEN’s Holly Ross Exit Disclaimer, also dedicated their blog to World AIDS Day.

World AIDS Day in Second Life

Our colleagues in Second Life invited us to speak at the opening of Karuna Exit Disclaimer, the first island in Second Life solely dedicated to HIV/AIDS information, support, and education. We accepted the invitation and created our avatars, virtual posters, and note cards for the event.

How YOU responded

Almost 500 people (or rather, their avatars) visited Karuna on World AIDS Day – and for many of you it was your first time exploring this virtual world. Our colleagues in Atlanta, Maryland, Virginia, California, and North Carolina created their own avatars and took the unfamiliar plunge into Second Life. People who had lost friends and loved ones came to the event to share their stories and remember.

But that’s not all…

There were many, many other World AIDS Day events and activities that involved new media. We were inspired by the following examples – a small sample of the many:

YOU make the difference.

Thank you. For caring enough to take photos. For telling your friends. For telling your stories about HIV/AIDS. For embracing new media for social change.

We were inspired by your creativity and compassion. YOUR involvement in the many World AIDS Day 2008 new media activities demonstrated the potential power of new media. But more importantly, it shows the power of YOU.

Now what?

We learned a lot from you this World AIDS Day – and we have a lot more to learn. Now that the dust has settled, we’re taking the time to ask ourselves: moving forward, how should we use new media to respond to HIV/AIDS? What worked well? What could have worked better? What do YOU think?



  1. I was thrilled that the Government broke down the “cinder block” walls image that it has always had and has really busted into the new media age! As a masters student of public health with an emphasis in communication and marketing I could not have been more thrilled about applications that were at my finger tips. More importantly as a resident of DC HIV/AIDS is constantly on my mind. I wish I could do more. We all wish we could do more.
    Thank you!
    Another blog that I manage that I posted on was

  2. I was very excited that Michelle and Miguel participated in the Worlds Aid Day celebration in Second Life. It was also exciting to see all the blog usage. I think just the out of the box thinking is what is needed. Maybe video game inclusion to reach younger audiences. Lobbying for an hiv + avatar on The Sims video game. A video diary segment a year in the life of AIDS. It’s a two edged sword because society is coming complacent with hiv/aids epidemic. I am hopeful with the administration that some upward thinking individuals will make some dramatic changes. We often forget since its a World Wide Epidemic to look in our own background for those that need just a little assistance.

  3. Yes the world aids day is over, but the difficulties of AIDS patients continuing.In this phenomina let us think unitely what we, bloggers can do against this AIDS.Let us remember that chineese proverb, “LET US LIGHT A LAMP THAN CUSRE THE DARKNESS”. Thanks to all bloggers those who trying to join with bloggers unite for world aids day

  4. I think this was a really awesome initative, photos at least for me are definetly a very powerful form of media. Also for the casual user looking at a photo takes less then a second to gain awareness of a issue as opposed to reading a article which is not as likly to happen. I would like to start up some sort of image media on if anyone is interested or has a unique idea.

  5. “Prevention is better than Cure.”

  6. HiV travel restrictions and retreats says:

    HIV retreats and restrictions on

  7. I have been coming to this blog too often now. And reading all the articles. Yes the bloggers might have united. But I think this is so small a number for so huge the population. And such things gets lost in the sands of time. I suggest next time you to spread the message to all the blogging networks in all the countries. This would help to increase the no of bloggers uiting for the theme. Also it would be good if you have any bloggers story part in your blog where they talk about the people who are suffering with aids. And feature the best story.
    Also you can interview some of them so that the readers who just happen to whiz past your site can just know about what it is to be suffering from AIDS. In india the term Aids is viewed as the most dejectable word and the poeple suffering are just shunned in the public. The next time I would like to participatein this bloggers unite and I will try to spread the message to my friends too and other blog networks.

  8. I feel real bad for not having taken part in the unite . But I personally feel that the AIDS is the most dreaded thing that could happen to a person. So it is always Prevention with Aids and no cure as of.

  9. All we need to offer “safe sex” subject for students.

  10. Teresa Chapman says:
  11. t chapman says:

    You can figure out whether you are at risk for HIV. Think about anything you are doing now or have done in the past that might have exposed you to HIV. You can contact me at blog below please vists.

  12. I think this was a very positive action. Obviously not the final or only solution but every event and activity adds up to more awareness and lord knows if one person is saved it is worth the effort.

  13. Everything was very well done in my opinion, getting the message across is important and I think that was achieved. Educating people in how to prevent aids is probably the most important so maybe if this was included in the day a bit more would be done to fight it.

  14. Ambien with alcohol.