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Digital Communication and National HIV/AIDS Long‐Term Survivor Awareness Day

Tez Anderson

Tez Anderson

National HIV/AIDS Long‐Term Survivor Awareness Day (NHALTSAD) will be observed on June 5, 2015 – the day in 1981 when the first report of what would come to be known as “AIDS” appeared in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The AIDS.gov team talked with the NHALTSAD lead organizer, Tez Anderson, about how he is incorporating social media into this year’s observance.

AIDS.gov: Tez, how are you using digital tools to communicate about National HIV/AIDS Long‐Term Survivor Awareness Day?

Tez Anderson: This observance is intended to raise awareness about those that have been living the longest with HIV. Those who tested positive for the virus before effective HIV medications became available (1996) had a very different experience, and our survival stories are unexpected. Not only are we using Twitter, Exit Disclaimer Facebook, Exit Disclaimer Tumblr, Exit Disclaimer and our website to raise awareness about the day, but I believe that telling our stories and promoting them through social media are an empowering intervention.

AIDS.gov: What lessons about digital communication do you have from your experience with NHALTSAD?

Tez Anderson: Social media is vital. The more the message gets out, the more people want to engage. It feeds upon itself. The more you put in, the more you get back, too. We have learned to take complicated ideas and make them simpler. And one specific tip: it pays to spend time with all the tools to learn how to use them best.

AIDS.gov: How can our readers follow the NHALTSAD conversation on social media?

NHALTSADTez Anderson: I’d suggest following the hashtags: #NHALTSAD, Exit Disclaimer #EverySurvivorCounts, Exit Disclaimer #AIDSLongTermSurvivors Exit Disclaimer and #BePartOfYourFuture. Exit Disclaimer

This year’s cornerstone event for NHALTSAD will be held in San Francisco on June 5. This event will launch the Generations HIV online video archive which includes stories about long term survivors’ experiences with HIV/AIDS. I invite AIDS.gov blog readers to follow the live broadcast on Twitter. We will be using Periscope to live stream this event.

I invite all AIDS.gov blog readers to help observe National HIV/AIDS Long‐Term Survivor Awareness Day—online and off.

How do digital tools fit into your portfolio for communicating about national health observances?