National HIV Testing Day Twitter Town Hall – June 3, 2010


Javascript and flash are required to play this audio file.

Download MP3
Karen Resha

Karen Resha, MA, NCHHSTP, CDC

On June 3, 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through our National Prevention Information Network (CDCNPIN) will host its first Twitter Town Hall in preparation for the 2010 National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). We are inviting you to attend this exciting event, but first let me answer what may be your first and basic question: “What is a Twitter Town Hall”?

As a Lead Health Communication Specialist at the CDC, I have heard of Twitter. I even have an account. But have I used it? Not really. I must admit that I am a novice. What I do know is that a Twitter Town Hall is not simply tweeting (sending short messages), but tweeting with a focus, for a set period of time, on the same topic, with other people and organizations on Twitter. Twitter has an impressive reach of more than 100 million users Exit Disclaimer worldwide — so these Town Halls have the capability of reaching an unheard of number of people and being perhaps the largest Town Hall ever held. Both President Obama and the First Lady have hosted town halls and/or discussions via Twitter.

Twitter is in sync with this age of fast-paced, instant messaging. And we are learning to write 140 character messages that are clear, concise, accurate, meaningful, and usable. Our whittled-down messages are helping people worldwide stay connected, get the latest news, and even learn how to protect health. I see Twitter as not just a messaging service, but an information service too; a way to provide real-time news about what is happening in the world.

And on June 3, CDC will use this tool to support our prevention partners’ efforts to relay one of the most important health messages needed to combat the devastating toll that HIV and AIDS are still having in the United States: Take the Test. Take Control. This message emphasizes that knowing your HIV status is a critical step to protecting your health and that of others.

The purpose of the event is to foster dialogue among people planning NHTD events or activities. Moderated by CDCNPIN staff, we’ll be joined by CDC’s Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Dr. Kevin Fenton, as well as CDC’s Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Dr. Jonathan Mermin, with a special message from CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. The National Association of People with AIDS Exit Disclaimer (NAPWA) will share information on activities and practices for NHTD, and will be on hand to discuss using new media to get your message out for NHTD.

Please join us on June 3, 2010, from 3:00pm to 4:30pm EST for the National HIV Testing Day Twitter Town Hall. Use the hashtag Exit Disclaimer #NHTD Exit Disclaimer to join the conversation, and follow @CDCNPINExit Disclaimer , @NAPWAUSExit Disclaimer , and @AIDSgov for updatesExit Disclaimer . Questions about how the Twitter Town Hall will work? Leave a comment, or send CDCNPIN Exit Disclaimer a message on Twitter – we’d love to hear from you!


  1. Can’t wait!

  2. This is very cool! The Red Pump Project is all about using social media to promote awareness, and we’re looking forward to participating in the Twitter Townhall!
    Karyn, Co-Founder of The Red Pump Project

  3. I don’t know that much about twitter or how it works, but I think anything that raises awareness about HIV can only be positive. I’m going to be sure and understand how twitter works before June 3rd so that I am an active participant!

  4. Kenneth Patterson says:

    It is so affirming to see HIV/AIDS prevention efforts keeping step with the latest technological advances. As an education professional, it is refreshing to see so much happening in this field… effectively educating and informing people. Keep up the great work! Take the test. Take control.

  5. Getting people to take the test is always going to be complicated by two factors. One, a lot of people are afraid of being labeled with a pre-existing condition when it comes to health insurance. Two, many, many states make typical ordinary activities illegal for those with HIV. I mean, Missouri still makes it criminal to be HIV+ and have sex with someone while using a condom even if you disclose to your partner! I know a lot of people who believe it’s better not to get tested and not know you are engaging in an illegal activity than to get tested and have to face persecution. I’ve never been able to come up with an argument to counteract either of those points.

  6. @Nels – as far as the pre-existing condition thing goes, with the recent Health Care Reform legislation, that should no longer be a problem in the near future. There are also many good service providers and Aids Service Organizations nationwide that can provide medical care for people diagnosed with HIV, using the crucial funds that we fight for.
    Second, according to Lamba Legal, in Missouri, the key aspect of the law is disclosure. “It is also unlawful for a person knowingly infected with HIV to act in a reckless manner by exposing another person to HIV without the knowledge and consent of that person, in any of the following manners..” Please correct me if I’m wrong.
    The arguments you put forth primarily sound like people’s fear and insecurity about knowing their status. Everyone experiences fear and insecurity. To those people I would say it is better to be empowered with the knowledge than potentially hurt the people you love.

  7. Hello, Thank you for facilitating this cutting-edge forum. It really helped a little cat like myself get my ideas heard by lots of people – without the fear of being stepped on. I will be using the tips and tweets here today in my efforts to encourage folks on Twitter to get tested for HIV. I have found that many people like following me-a little cat-but not necessarily the CDC or other health entities. It scares them too much. Anyway, this afternoon was most edifying – and completely meow-tastic!

Speak Your Mind