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Capitol Hill Conference: Future Directions in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Capitol Hill Conference:  Future Directions in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of speaking about new media during the “Capitol Hill Conference: Future Directions in the Fight Against HIV/AIDSExit Disclaimer co-sponsored by amfAR Exit Disclaimer and Research!America Exit Disclaimer. This event brought together international HIV experts, celebrity advocates, and government officials to talk about the importance of HIV research and a National AIDS Strategy. The day started with information from the recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey Exit Disclaimer showing that Americans’ sense of urgency about HIV has fallen and that we need to reinvigorate ourselves in the fight against AIDS.

During the keynote address, Magic Johnson Exit Disclaimer stressed the need to “bring the focus [on HIV] back here at home” as well as overseas. NIH’s Anthony Fauci provided a comprehensive update about HIV in the U.S. and where we are with vaccine research and treatment options. Jeffrey Crowley, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, spoke about President Obama’s commitment to “following the science” when it comes to HIV policy. During the closing address, the Global Fund’s Executive Director Dr. Michel Kazatchkine Exit Disclaimer called for global unity in the response to HIV.

I shared three lessons we’ve learned from our new media efforts and where we are headed. We have an obligation to:

  1. understand how our audiences use the Internet and what they do when they are online. We all need to start with understanding our audiences’ needs and then find the best tools to meet those needs;
  2. ensure that our HIV/AIDS service colleagues know what new media is. Many of our providers are unfamiliar with these tools but are eager to learn about them. We need to respond to this unmet need; and
  3. have a plan. It’s important that new media tools are integrated into our overall communications strategies.

For more updates on the conference, check out amfAR’s Twitter feed Exit Disclaimer. We laud amfAR’s use of video and Twitter to move out information on the event. Susan Blumenthal Exit Disclaimer, MD, Conference Chair, Senior Policy and Medical Advisor for amfAR, told me amfAR will be using new media to help move forward the items in their call to action for more research and more funding. We will report back on how and why they are using new media to move their mission forward.