November 04, 2008


Introduction to Mashups: 1 + 1 = Mashups?

AIDSportal HIV Jobs Mashup

AIDSportal “HIV Jobs” Mashup

Mashups Exit Disclaimer -- what are they? Are they being used by the HIV/AIDS community? To learn more, we spoke with Rob Worthington from AIDSportal Exit Disclaimer and AIDS.gov advisor, David Galiel Exit Disclaimer.

What is a mashup?

Rob told us, “A mashup is a way of combining data, content, or a function from different websites in a new or innovative way. This can create extra value or utility.”

Many mashups incorporate maps. New York City Coalition Against Hunger Exit Disclaimer created a mashup that uses Google Maps Exit Disclaimer, geographical information, and their own data to help those who have access to the Internet to find help. David said, “The Coalition links data from food providers, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters that allow people to quickly find free meals, farmer’s markets, or soup kitchens.”

Other public health mashups include Who is Sick? Exit Disclaimer, a mashup combining consumer driven (“user-generated”) health information, social networking, and Google maps. Health Care That Works Exit Disclaimer uses Google Maps and data from state and federal government agencies to highlight the impact of hospital closures on low-income communities and communities of color. Healthmaps Exit Disclaimer also uses Google Maps and integrates outbreak data from sources such as Google News Exit Disclaimer, ProMED Exit Disclaimer, and the World Health Organization Exit Disclaimer.

Not all mashups involve maps, and many combine multiple information sources and display information in multiple formats. An example of this is HubMed Exit Disclaimer, a mashup that uses information from PubMed’s database to produce a search interface to browse, organize and gather information from the biomedical literature.

How can AIDS Service Organizations use mashups?

Rob told us how AIDS Portal is taking advantage of mashups: “Our first mashup used an RSS feed to display job vacancies from AIDSPortal and Facebook Exit Disclaimer to create an AIDS Job application Exit Disclaimer.” He explained, “As new job vacancies are posted on AIDSPortal, they automatically appear in Facebook.”  Read more about this at the AIDS Portal blog Exit Disclaimer.

Global Health Council’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Mashup

Global Health Council’s International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Mashup

Another example of an HIV-specific mashup is the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial of the Global Health Council’s mashup Exit Disclaimer of Google Maps with their list of local coordinators.

Rob suggests, “Think about the problems your stakeholders or users face that a mashup could address. For instance, they might want to know where they can access a particular type of AIDS-related service, such as voluntary counseling and testing. A mashup could help you display a list of services on a map, enabling people to see which services are closest to them.”

Getting Started

David told us that “it’s important to note that mashups do require a certain level of comfort with software technology, yet there are several online tools for building mashups that do not require deep technical expertise.” “Plug and play” tools like ZeeMaps Exit Disclaimer and Dapper Exit Disclaimer can help you get started.

The mashup portal ProgrammableWeb.com Exit Disclaimer is a comprehensive resource with introductory tutorials, a directory of mashups, and news. ProgrammableWeb also helps connect mashup coders with organizations that need their services.

“Once you have an idea that you think will help your users,” said Rob, “you need to look at where you can get the data you need.  Do you have a database of your own, or is this data already published somewhere on the Web?”

Mashups depend on organizations using open formats and sharing data. They also depend on software developers to develop programs that can talk to each other. So, as you look at ways to use mashups to help your mission, we encourage you to think about ways that you can, in turn, provide mashup content for others to use.

And be sure to come back and post a comment here to let us know what you are doing!

September 23, 2008


Looking Back, Moving Forward

Podcast of this blog post

USCA logo

Last week we attended the United States Conference on AIDS Exit Disclaimer (USCA), sponsored by the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC). USCA is the largest AIDS-related gathering in the U.S. Three-thousand people came together to share information, create new networks, and learn about the latest tools being used to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Conference participants included healthcare and service providers, advocates, people living with HIV/AIDS, and policymakers. The theme of the conference was “Looking Back, Moving Forward.”

New Media at USCA

Our time at USCA was spent looking forward to a future where new media will be a standard part of HIV messaging--but we aren’t there yet. Below, we highlight some examples of how our colleagues are using new media to reach target populations at risk for HIV/AIDS:

Soy screenshot

Plenary Session

  • The USCA conference opened with the Soy (I am) Exit Disclaimer project, a joint venture Exit Disclaimer between Univision and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Soy tells the stories of individual Latinos living with HIV/AIDS. The project debuts just in time for National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. KFF also provided a webcast Exit Disclaimer of USCA’s opening session.


  • Thomas Henning, from Cable Positive Exit Disclaimer, discussed how nonprofits can use new media to reach new clients. He discussed how to find free or inexpensive resources to help with using new media tools and highlighted Cable Positive’s popular, rights-free, public service announcements Exit Disclaimer.
  • The Northwest AIDS Education and Training Center Exit Disclaimer (NAETC) offered a workshop entitled Employing Innovative Technology in HIV Clinical Training for Underserved Communities. NAETC has a useful website Exit Disclaimer that provides case-based modules on HIV/AIDS diagnosis and treatment for minority and minority-serving health care providers.
  • The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center Exit Disclaimer presented on a new web series, In The Moment Exit Disclaimer, that follows a group of gay men living in Los Angeles and chronicles their decision-making around sexual health.

Roundtables and Discussions

Roundtable participants

Participants at AIDS.gov discussion, counterclockwise: Deb LeBel, Valerie Kapp, Michael LaFlam, Angel Gonzalez, and Doug Weinbrenner.

  • Miguel Chion and Monica Nuño of Accion Mutua Exit Disclaimer, a joint program of AIDS Project Los Angeles Exit Disclaimer and the César E. Chávez Institute Exit Disclaimer, offered a roundtable on how to use webinars to reach communities with HIV prevention, testing, and treatment messages.
  • AIDS.gov sponsored a discussion group entitled “Let’s Talk About New Media.” Participants echoed what we heard at the International AIDS Conference and from others at USCA: our target audiences are using the Web to find health information and make healthcare decisions.

Other New Media

  • amFar Exit Disclaimer and POZ Exit Disclaimer are producing videos for their webpages, and YouTube carries a video by POZ on Latino and Asian/Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Days.
  • NMAC twittered Exit Disclaimer from the conference. (To learn more about Twitter, see this post.)


As we did in Mexico City, the AIDS.gov team did informal interviews with USCA participants about their use of new media. The consensus among our colleagues was that people are starting to incorporate new media into their work, but the challenges are real and there is plenty of room for improvement.

Doug Weinbrenner, from Good Samaritan Services Exit Disclaimer in Kansas City told us: “We are just skimming the surface of what we can do.”

Susan Cohen, director of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center’s Exit Disclaimer Department of Health Education and Prevention, and part of the team that produces In The Moment Exit Disclaimer, said “We are continuously learning from our audience about how to plan for this new environment. That means considering everything from what to do when the computers start crashing to asking ourselves hard questions, like ‘Are we serving our audience?’” She also said, “The HIV community needs to assess the utilization of new media. Our target audiences are using these tools and we have to meet them where they are.”

Monico Nuño

Monico Nuño, Capacity Building Specialist, Acción Mutua

Monica Nuño told us, “So many of those we work to reach use technology in their social lives. We use technology tools in our work to bridge the gap between home and work, bring information to people, and make it interactive. We have to meet providers where they are and make our information available on the platforms they use.”

Gustavo Aldolfo Morales Correa with Entre Amigos Exit Disclaimer told us: “We’ve been engaging clients on MySpace in Puerto Rico for several years, but we know we have to step up our game. Our clients began by networking through us, but they quickly developed independent social networks—we have to reconsider how to engage with them.”

Moving Forward

Our colleagues (AIDS service organizations, health leaders, and national HIV advocates) told us they wanted technical assistance on how to use, evaluate, and work collaboratively on new media. They also told us they want more opportunities to TALK about using new media - and how we can challenge our communities to use these tools, as appropriate.

What are you doing to make your HIV/AIDS information and resources available through new media? Please share you stories, successes, and challenges with us!

August 12, 2008


International AIDS Conference: New Media and the AIDS Community - Some Good News

Last week, we "twittered" Exit Disclaimer from the International AIDS Conference (IAC) Exit Disclaimer, and we planned to talk about that this week. We were struck, however, by our conversations on new media with IAC delegates and we decided to write about what we learned at the conference instead. (Stay tuned for more on Twitter soon!)

From the plenary Exit Disclaimer on the future of the global pandemic to AIDS.gov's conversations with a cross-section of the 23,000+ IAC delegates in Mexico City, the topic of new media kept popping up. In that plenary session, Dr. Peter Piot Exit Disclaimer, director of UNAIDS Exit Disclaimer (and one of the leading voices in developing HIV/AIDS policy worldwide), acknowledged the importance of new media in meeting the challenge of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Piot explicitly mentioned Facebook and text messaging as important tools in carrying messages about HIV/AIDS--but he was one of the few who did.

“It is time that prevention programs embrace Facebook, texting, all the communication means, the new information technology that young people are using. It is not by billboards that we are going to introduce social change and personal behavior change on a large scale.” Dr. Peter Piot, Executive Director, UNAIDS

At our poster session on AIDS.gov, and in informal interviews throughout the weeklong conference, we asked people from all different sectors (government, community-based and faith-based organizations, the private sector, and academia) if, and how, they are using new media in response to HIV/AIDS. Their responses showed a common theme:

Everyone thinks using new media to offer HIV prevention, testing, and treatment messages is a great idea, but very few have made the leap to integrating new media consistently into their daily work or planning.
Photo of Miguel Gomez and Dr. Hazel Dean

AIDS.gov poster session: Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, and Dr. Hazel Dean, Deputy Director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

For those who said they were working on new media initiatives, they recognized that work as a priority. Several organizations, including amfAR Exit Disclaimer and GMHC Exit Disclaimer, were planning rollouts or redesigns of their websites in the near future.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Exit Disclaimer was the major new media presence at the conference. KFF provided webcasts Exit Disclaimer for all of the major IAC sessions, as well as interviews with many of the most prominent policymakers and activists in the AIDS community.

There were plenty of bloggers at the conference. Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP) Exit Disclaimer sponsored AIDS2008.com Exit Disclaimer, an independent community resource for the 2008 IAC, which included blogs Exit Disclaimer from many conference attendees. In addition, a Google blog search Exit Disclaimer yields over 60,000 mentions of the IAC.

Despite these high-profile new media efforts, however, almost everyone we talked to stressed that the use of new media in response to HIV/AIDS is in its infancy. The overwhelming consensus of the delegates was that the AIDS community lags behind in using new media, and that we need to catch up and learn how to use new media tools quickly.

There was a lot of interest in new media from many of those on the front lines. The AIDS.gov team attended a fascinating session titled Reaching Millions--Youth, AIDS, and the Digital Age. The panelists were all young AIDS activists who are using the Internet and cell phones to reach and support young people at risk for, or living with, HIV/AIDS in some of the world’s most affected regions.

All of the interest generated by these sessions, and the enthusiastic response to our interviews, led us to believe that there is a need for a conference on AIDS and New Media. Stay tuned as we attempt to make it happen!

June 24, 2008


Reaching Bloggers for National HIV Testing Day

Banner for AIDS.gov National HIV Testing day webinar

Last week, AIDS.gov hosted a Webinar Exit Disclaimer for bloggers in advance of National HIV Testing Day (on June 27). We reached out to bloggers for this event because so many people today depend on bloggers for their news, information, and opinions.

Who participated in the Webinar?

Participants included bloggers who blog about health-related topics and/or those who reach communities infected, affected, or at highest risk for HIV. Several of our Federal colleagues also attended the Webinar. Timothy Harrison from HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy was the moderator, and Dr. Bernie Branson from the CDC, Dr. Celia Maxwell Exit Disclaimer from Howard University Hospital, and Mr. Andre Blackman Exit Disclaimer from the Pulse & Signal Blog Exit Disclaimer presented and answered questions from bloggers.

Photo of Timothy Harrison

Timothy Harrison from HHS’ Office of HIV/AIDS Policy

Photo of Dr. Bernie Branson

Dr. Bernie Branson from the CDC

Photo of Dr. Celia Maxwell

Dr. Celia Maxwell from Howard University Hospital

Photo of Mr. Andre Blackman

Mr. Andre Blackman from the Pulse & Signal Blog

How can bloggers help promote National HIV Testing Day?

  1. Take an HIV test Exit Disclaimer and then blog about it.
  2. Promote web badges Exit Disclaimer on your blog that link people to the KNOWIT HIV testing text messaging campaign.
  3. Promote the HIV testing PPSAs we blogged about last week and mentioned during the Webinar.
  4. Link to the Webinar transcript.
  5. Host or attend a local event Exit Disclaimer for National HIV Testing Day and blog about it.

What HIV testing messages were heard on the Webinar?

  1. Some of the biggest barriers to getting tested for HIV include: stigma, fear of the results, perception of not being at-risk, and assuming their healthcare provider has already tested them.
  2. Getting an HIV test can be quick and painless! As Dr. Maxwell told us, “results can be given to the person in as little as 20 minutes. It involves a swab of the inner lining of the mouth.”
  3. The HIV epidemic is disproportionately impacting African Americans and men who have sex with men (MSM). Dr. Branson shared that “49 percent of all reported cases of AIDS in the United States occur among African Americans who represent only 12 percent of the population.”
  4. Don't be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for a test. Dr. Maxwell said, “I often say to patients this is really no different than getting your Pap smear if you’re a woman...or knowing your cholesterol. This is part of being well!”
  5. If you test positive for HIV, treatment and care are available which may help improve your health and protect your partners. To learn more about living with HIV please visit the “treatment and care” section on AIDS.gov.

What did bloggers ask about?

During the Webinar, we answered live questions from bloggers--check out the transcript. Unfortunately, we didn’t get all the questions during the Webinar, so we’ve responded to additional questions here.

What’s up next?

In closing, the AIDS.gov team wants to thank all the participants, speakers, and organizers that made this Webinar possible! We also encourage you to help spread the word about National HIV Testing Day on June 27.

Next week we’ll be returning to our series on virtual worlds...stay tuned!!

June 17, 2008


20 students. 6 universities. 8 short videos. 1 cause. National HIV Testing Day Personal Public Service Announcements

Photo of Dr. Kevin Fenton with a PPSA participant

Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention , with a PPSA participant

To help get the word out about National HIV Testing Day (June 27), the CDC and the University of Georgia’s New Media Institute Exit Disclaimer collaborated on an innovative new media project. More than 20 students from six universities and five AIDS organizations hit the streets with video cameras this April to produce eight short video messages Exit Disclaimer encouraging young people to be tested for HIV.

To learn more about this project, we spoke with Dr. Scott Shamp Exit Disclaimer, a professor at the University of Georgia and the director of the New Media Institute Exit Disclaimer, and with our CDC colleague Jackie Rosenthal.

What are Personal PSAs?

Public service announcements Exit Disclaimer have become a mainstay in public health efforts. What differentiates personal PSAs from traditional ones, is that in addition to being user-generated, they are shared via cell phones and social network sites Exit Disclaimer, like YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook.

Why Personal PSAs?

Rosenthal stated, “We know that there are millions of young people who consume media differently today. They are more in tune with colleagues and the world via personal communication devices such as cell phones. We started to research the role of cell phones and other mobile media devices, and how these assets can play a part in enhancing people’s lives.”

Photo of Dr. Scott Shamp

Dr. Scott Shamp, University of Georgia's New Media Institute

Dr. Shamp continued, “There is a new generation of creative individuals who can create a lot of cool things that resonate with various target audiences with very little technology.” And a cell phone allows people to send these messages friend-to-friend, colleague-to-colleague.

Creating the PPSAs

Each PPSA took a different approach to communicate the same message - HIV testing is quick, simple, painless, and VERY important.

We asked Dr. Shamp to tell us about how the PPSAs were developed. He told us that, after spending one day learning about HIV/AIDS, testing and surveillance, the students were then put into small groups and tasked with coming up with ideas for their short videos. On the second day, an expert panel approved their concepts and the groups hit the pavement with inexpensive video cameras to turn their concepts into actual video footage. On the evening of the second day, they showed the final products to all the students and project partners. “It was really exciting,” said Dr. Shamp.

The PPSA team credits two major components for bringing this project together and executing it successfully: creativity and cooperation. This endeavor required a group of partners like CDC and Verizon Wireless. Dr. Shamp stated, “It also relied heavily on crazily brave individuals to take on the production, and students and faculty, whom we call intrepid innovators, to help us carry this out from inception to completion.”

Tune in!

In anticipation of National HIV Testing Day, the PPSAs will be available on CDC’s YouTube channel Exit Disclaimer and MySpace Page Exit Disclaimer. We also encourage you to embed the video(s) Exit Disclaimer on your Web site or blog in support and observance of National HIV Testing Day.

For more information, visit the Univerisity of Georgia’s New Media Institute website Exit Disclaimer.

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