Understanding how gay and bisexual men are using the Internet and its impact on HIV transmission, testing, and care is critical. Sunday, September 27, is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), which National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) and its partners originated and sponsor. NAPWA is using the Internet to support this day which was launched in 2008 in response to the increasing rates of HIV among gay and bisexual men. Here are some comments from Tom Kujawski, NAPWA’s Vice President of Development about the day:
Gay and bisexual men, particularly young men and men of color, continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS in the US. NGMHAAD calls upon the nation to respond collectively to the HIV crisis facing gay and bisexual men. NGMHAAD works to encourage gay and bisexual men to get tested; to illustrate how communities, including corporate and elected officials, care about the well-being of gay and bisexual men; and to raise awareness about the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic among gay and bisexual men.”
“We hypothesize that gay men generally use three primary types of new (online) media: a) Mainstream: This category includes major publications (national newspapers/monthlies), blogs and social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.); b) LGBT-focused: This category is mainly gay blogs and sites (e.g. Towleroad, gay.com, Andrew Sullivan); and c) Dating & Sex Sites.
“New media plays a central role in NGMHAAD. First, the web allows for much smarter segmentation of demographics and communities. As a result, any messages intended for gay and bisexual men can be much more accurately targeted towards sites that cater to these populations. Secondly, through more viral media like Facebook , Twitter and blogs we can generate a viral response among the more general and targeted population.
“New media can be a great way to reach gay and bisexual men and create a peer-lead, grassroots response to the current HIV epidemic. New media is a vehicle to reinforce credible fact-based sources of HIV/AIDS information.”
Thanks to Tom for his insight. Here are some suggestions for promoting the key messages for NGMHAAD:
- Update your website and social networking profiles with information about gay and bisexual men, and HIV, as well as information about where to get tested—you can also add a KNOWIT HIV testing web badge to your site!
- Watch for new tools on NAPWA’s website , created by NAPWA and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria .
Please leave us a comment and let us know what you are doing with new media to reach people at greatest risk in this epidemic.