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September 2008

September 30, 2008


Catching up with Communities of Color: Online and New Media Use

Podcast of this blog post

In our last post on the United States Conference on AIDS Exit Disclaimer, we talked about a number of programs that are using new media to reach minority communities with HIV/AIDS information and resources. At the conference we heard about HIV/AIDS programs trying to be where many of their communities are: online and using new media. But is that where our target audiences really are? We wanted to get a clearer understanding of internet and new media use among communities of color. To learn more, we hosted a webinar, “Underserved Populations and New Media Use”.

We are grateful to our speakers, Fard Johnmar, Founder of Envision Solutions, LLC Exit Disclaimer, and Alejandro Garcia-Barbon, Senior Technical Advisor of IQ Solutions Exit Disclaimer and the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s (NIDA) Drugs + HIV> Learn the Link Campaign (more on this in next week’s post), who shared their knowledge and experiences with us and over 100 of our Federal colleagues and their grantees.

Is there a “digital divide”?

Fard Johnmar

Fard Johnmar, Founder, Envision Solutions

First of all, what do we mean by the digital divide? At AIDS.gov, we’ve been using the following adaptation of Wikipedia’s “digital divideExit Disclaimer definition: “the gap between people with, and without, effective access to digital and information technology.” In this definition, access is different than effective access – for example, use of a slow dial-up Internet connection at a public computer is less effective than a high-speed Internet connection at home.

Fard told us there are several things we need to look at when considering who is online. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project Exit Disclaimer, 73% of all adults in the U.S. are using the Internet or e-mail. There is a gap between White (75%) and Black (59%) users of these technologies, but it has been decreasing over the past several years. Eighty percent of English-speaking Hispanic adults are using both technologies. And 90% of all adults ages 18-29 are using e-mail or the Web. If your target audience is youth, Black, White or Asian many are clearly Internet savvy.

So where do the biggest gaps in Internet use remain? There is a divide between Spanish-dominant Hispanic adults and other population groups, though 32% are online. As Fard showed us, the other important piece of the puzzle is the effective Internet access piece – and looking at access to high-speed Internet connection shows gaps based on income, race and location (rural vs. suburban or urban). Lack of access to high-speed Internet doesn’t mean people aren’t online, Fard cautioned us, but it might mean different populations use different new media tools in different ways.

High Speed Internet Use

How are communities of color using new media?

Fard shared statistics from eMarketer Exit Disclaimer that suggest African American and Hispanic adults are more likely to use certain new media technologies than Whites, such as social networking sites, online chat rooms, and instant messaging.

Online Social Networking and Communications Activities of US Internet Users, by Race/Ethnicity, March-April 2007 (% of respondents in each group)
  African American Hispanic Non-Hispanic white
Reading and writing e-mail 64% 66% 81%
Instant Messaging 45% 46% 36%
Visiting social networking sites 33% 32% 20%
Sending greeting cards 29% 31% 26%
Participating in chat rooms 22% 22% 10%

Note: n=1,038 African American, 766 Hispanic and 901 non-Hispanic white; ages 16+; activities done frequently or occasionally. Source: Yankelovich, "2007/2008 MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study," provided to eMarketer, September 17, 2007

A study Exit Disclaimer by Envision Solutions found that 45% of Hispanics and 40% of Blacks as well as 37% of Whites had doubted a medical provider’s opinion or diagnosis because it conflicted with information they had read on the Internet. As Fard said “we know that people of color are not only going online to learn about health topics but they’re being influenced by information provided by what we call Dr. Web.” People are using the information they find online to make important decisions about their health – so we need to be there with good tools and information!

What’s an example of a program using new media to reach communities of color? Stay tuned!!

Alejandro Garcia-Barbon

Alejandro Garcia-Barbon, Senior Technical Advisor, IQ Solutions

Next week we’ll hear from Alejandro Garcia-Barbon, about his experiences implementing NIDA’s “Drugs + HIV> Learn the Link” Campaign. This campaign uses TV, print and online and radio public service announcements, posters, social network sites and other tools to send prevention messages specifically targeted to African American and Hispanic girls.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your experiences reaching communities of color and using new media tools to enhance your work.

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!

September 16, 2008


"A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words"-- How to Increase Involvement in World AIDS Day 2008

Podcast of this blog post

“A picture is worth a thousand words” and today we will be talking about two different powerful pictures that relate to World AIDS Day--one which involves data, and the other which involves you.

Screen shot of Google Trends: HIV, AIDS

Picture # 1: The Trend

The picture above shows our search results from typing “AIDS” into Google Trends Exit Disclaimer (a tool that lets you see what words people are searching for on Google). Two key things caught our attention about this picture: 1) People are searching for the word “AIDS” most frequently around World AIDS Day (December 1st), and 2) for the last four years, there has been a steady decline in the number of people searching for this term.

As AIDS continues to take a devastating toll on people around the world and here at home, we must change this trend. We can't afford to be complacent. A few weeks ago, the CDC told us that the number of Americans who are newly infected with HIV each year is even worse than we thought. Because there is no cure for HIV and no vaccine to counter it, HIV prevention and testing remain two of our most powerful tools in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

So, here's where picture #2 comes in....

Picture # 2: Changing the Trend

As many of you know, World AIDS Day is December 1st. This is a day for us to come together around HIV/AIDS--to remember, recognize, and take control of the future. But given the downward trend illustrated above, the subject of AIDS seems to be falling off peoples' radar.

The good news is that we know more and more people are going online and turning to their peers for health information. This is where YOU --providers, educators, caretakers, social media gurus and novices, colleagues, and friends--come in. We need your help to reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS and encourage testing for World AIDS Day. In four easy steps, you can help create change.

Miguel Gomez
  1. Grab your cell phone or digital camera and take a picture of yourself wearing a red ribbon Exit Disclaimer--any red ribbon--cloth, paper, plastic, licorice, etc.--feel free to be creative!
  2. On December 1st--World AIDS Day--add the picture to your social networking profiles, blogs, other websites, etc. Leave the picture up for one week (until December 8th at midnight--no matter where you live).
  3. Add your picture to the World AIDS Day 08 Exit Disclaimer Flickr account! Not on Flickr? Flickr is an online photo management and sharing application. Signing up is fast, and allows you to post your picture to the group so we'll have an album of everyone who took action.
  4. Tell 10 friends to do the same.

Together we can remind people that HIV/AIDS is still a threat. Together we change the trend.

Between now and World AIDS Day, we'll blog about other exciting new media activities for you to get involved with....stay tuned!!!

Are you planning any new media activities for World AIDS Day? If so, please let us know about them and we can help spread the word.

Also, next week, AIDS.gov will be hosting two different activities at the United States Conference on AIDS Exit Disclaimer (USCA), the nation's largest HIV/AIDS conference. USCA is run by the National Minority AIDS Council Exit Disclaimer--and it gives us an opportunity to meet with leaders in communities of color to talk about new media.

Our events will include:

Open Discussion Group on New Media (Friday, September 19, 6:45-7:45 PM, Room 302, Convention Center) We will discuss what new media is and how you can use it in your work on HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

Workshop on HIV/AIDS Awareness Days (Saturday, September 20, 9:30-11:30 AM, Floridian A, Third Floor, Convention Center)--HIV/AIDS Awareness Days: A Turning Point Cross Promotion of the National HIV/AIDS Awareness Days: Where Are We Now? Where Can We Go? We will discuss how HIV/AIDS Awareness Days can be used to promote HIV prevention, testing, and treatment.

If you plan to attend USCA, please join us for the dialogue!

September 09, 2008


The Health Blogosphere

Podcast of this blog post

As the summer comes to an end, we want to share information about an event which took place this summer and reinforced the importance of using new media tools in public health. In July, the Kaiser Family Foundation Exit Disclaimer (KFF) sponsored a webcast, “The Health Blogosphere: What It Means for Policy Debates and Journalism Exit Disclaimer”. Secretary Michael Leavitt from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the author of Secretary Mike Leavitt’s Blog, gave the keynote address.

Secretary Mike Leavitt

Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services

The Secretary, who writes all of his own blog posts, says that blogging “crystallizes my thinking and helps me find my voice.” He sees blogging as a way to try out ideas and share information with the public. He also says that, when it comes to change, “we can fight it, accept it, or lead the way,” and he has decided to lead the way in blogging. He sees blogging as a “very powerful engine” for public policy.

Following the keynote, KFF’s Vicky Rideout moderated a panel discussion. Panelists included: Jacob Goldstein, Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog Exit Disclaimer; Michael Cannon, Cato Institute Exit Disclaimer; Ezra Klein, American Prospect Exit Disclaimer; John McDonough, senior advisor for national health reform in the Office of Sen. Edward Kennedy and former executive director of Health Care for All Exit Disclaimer; and Tom Rosenstiel, Project for Excellence in Journalism Exit Disclaimer. If you missed the live webcast, we encourage you to check out the podcast or video Exit Disclaimer. Let us know what you think!

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Dr. Kevin Fenton

Secretary Leavitt has now been joined in the health blogosphere by our colleague Kevin Fenton, M.D., Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Dr. Fenton just launched a blog “to facilitate the exchange of ideas on HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB prevention.” We are excited by this new blog and encourage you to check it out!

As we noted in one of our blog posts from the International AIDS Conference, many of our colleagues at the state and local levels are considering using blogs to reach their communities. Please let us know if you are aware of any examples--we look forward to learning from our colleagues’ experiences.

Are you interested in learning more about the health blogosphere? If so, we encourage you to check out the recently released Envision Solutions Insight Report: The Evolving Health Blogosphere Exit Disclaimer. According to this report, there are approximately 13.6 million health bloggers!

September 02, 2008


Using Twitter in Response to HIV/AIDS: The Hot New Tool (Today?)

Podcast of this blog post

Map of Hurricane Gustav

Hurricane Gustav

We've been hearing a lot about Twitter Exit Disclaimer lately. At Texting4Health Exit Disclaimer, Podcamp, and on NPR Exit Disclaimer, people have been talking about Twitter as the "hot/new" tool to help you communicate fast and effectively. Just this last weekend, NPR's Andy Carvin created a StormWire Exit Disclaimer Twitter account to send notifications about the hurricanes and other tropical storms.

Many of our new media colleagues are very active on Twitter, and some of our Federal colleagues are also exploring Exit Disclaimer this new tool. From what we've seen, Twitter is not as popular in the HIV/AIDS community, though people have been asking us what Twitter is, how to use it, or how it can be applicable to their work. So let's get down to the basics - and then we'll share some of our own experiences and reflections.

What is Twitter?

You can think of Twitter as a "micro-blog." You use your computer or cell phone to broadcast short messages, or "tweets," that are limited to 140 characters. People can sign up to follow your tweets, in much the same way they might subscribe to an RSS feed for a regular blog or website. These are your "followers," and you can choose to follow people, too.

Again, we turn to Common Craft to explain Twitter in Plain English Exit Disclaimer.

Why use Twitter?

We've found that if you ask 10 people, you'll get 10 different answers, which makes Twitter very much like any other form of new media! Here are some reasons we've heard:

  • To share information
  • To ask questions
  • To connect to people remotely
  • To connect people around common interests
  • To connect people at conferences/meetings

According to the Twitter website Exit Disclaimer, Twitter is a "service for friends, family, and coworkers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?" If you still think you don't "get it" - don't worry. Those same 10 people didn't get it at first, either.

In time we'll learn if Twitter will continue to grow. Like all new media tools, use it if it carries forward your mission and lightens your load.

Using Twitter in Response to HIV/AIDS

We asked Doug Weinbrenner, Director of Client Services for the Good Samaritan Project Exit Disclaimer in Kansas City, MO, how he is using Twitter in response to HIV/AIDS. He told us, "Since we were the first organization in Kansas City to respond to the AIDS crisis, we are as old as the epidemic itself. We have the tremendous challenge of adapting our services and messages as quickly as the virus and its realities change--which, in organizational terms, is frequently. Social media tools, such as Twitter, allow AIDS service organizations like ours to effectively respond to those ever-changing needs by providing instant, accurate information about what it's really like to live with HIV, promoting our services and events, and--most important--by providing a highly accessible place to form a community of support."

At AIDS.gov, we started using Twitter at the International AIDS Conference, and, last week, we twittered during the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Meeting Exit Disclaimer. Miguel Gomez, Director of AIDS.gov, told us, "While we're still exploring how we can use Twitter, we appreciate that it's easy to use and helps us provide quick and concise messages to our followers."

Screen shot of AIDS.gov Twitter account

AIDS.gov Twitter feed about the XVII International AIDS Conference

Getting Started with Twitter

Sign up for an account at www.twitter.com Exit Disclaimer

  • Pick a username and complete your profile
  • You can also make your tweets private (go to settings Exit Disclaimer)
  • Start tweeting
  • Enter short (up to 140 characters) message in the box, "What are you doing now?"
  • Ask people to follow you. How? Just tell them to go to twitter.com/YOUR TWITTER NAME (e.g., twitter.com/AIDSgov)

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