Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD). But things have changed since it started years ago. Social media is being heavily relied on to reach people and involve them in healthy discussions about ways to prevent the spread of HIV. Why rely on trendy sites Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other venues? Because in order to reach your target groups you have to meet them where they are.
We, as a society, are increasingly resorting to digital media to get our information. It's fast. It's accessible. And it can be easily shared with others. Social media use has been on the rise for the past decade and gaining power everyday. Why not use it to spread factual information that will save lives and reduce the spread of disease? In the African American community, social media use is common. A recent report by Pew Internet and American Life Project revealed that almost a quarter of African Americans who are online access Twitter, with 40% of 18-29 year old African American internet users on the site. With African Americans being disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS (an estimated 44% of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents) we cannot afford to ignore the use Twitter and other social media avenues to reach out to targeted groups.
Today at 12 noon there will be a Twitter Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the Center for Disease Control with the NBHAAD Strategic Leadership Committee, the NAACP and AIDS Vu. The theme is "How do we end the HIV epidemic in Black America?" Using the hashtag #NBHAADchat, you can follow the discussion, share comments and ask questions.
Not ready for a Twitter chat? There are a few local events recognizing NBHAAD happening today.
- Whitman-Walker Health will observe National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on Friday, Feb. 7, with free HIV testing through their mobile testing unit and at the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center. The mobile testing units will be at Anacostia Metro Station from 12:00-4:00pm. The Elizabethe Taylor Center is located at 1701 14th St., NW.
- The Women's Collective will host "Lip Sync for Your Life" an evening of music, poetry and HIV testing. Lip Sync will be from 5 pm- 7:30 pm at their office at 1331 Rhode Island Avenue NE,. Refreshments and door prizes will be offered.