“A picture is worth a thousand words”: Photo Sharing at AIDS 2012
This Labor Day, like many Americans, I spent time with friends and family and took photos that I shared with my mobile phone. Today, sharing photos on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (we’ll write more about Instagram in a future post) offers an easy opportunity to share information about yourself and causes you care about with your social network.
In the HIV community, photo sharing campaigns provide a means to mobilize around the HIV epidemic. In July, AIDS 2012 conference participants had an opportunity to participate in several photo sharing campaigns, such as the Turning the Tide , Let’s Stop HIV Together, and Facing AIDS. These efforts helped to provide additional links for individuals to HIV services and general HIV information.
The “Turning the Tide Together” photo sharing effort was launched in advance of AIDS 2012 by the organizers of the AIDS 2012 Global Village to give people a tool to share what the conference theme, Turning the Tide Together, meant to them. Organizers received 130 photos– group and individual shots from all parts of the world– and posted them on SmugMug and the AIDS 2012 Facebook page .
Scott Sanders, Consultant to International AIDS Society, shared his experience with this initiative. He noted how some organizations used it as an opportunity to organize and energize members before the conference. From the perspective of the conference organizers, the photos helped populate the AIDS 2012 Facebook page in the days leading up to the conference. Changing the main Facebook photo daily with a new “Turning the Tide Together” image led to an immediate increase in the number and activity of AIDS 2012 Facebook followers, with a significant increase in “likes.” AIDS 2012 also tweeted a new picture daily and experienced some of its highest retweets of the conference.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and AIDS.gov teamed up for a joint photo booth where conference attendees were invited to pose for photographs in support of the CDC’s new national HIV awareness and anti-stigma campaign, Let’s Stop HIV Together. Attendees joined celebrities and internationally renowned scientists, holding Facing AIDS signs with a statement about why they are putting their face to end the HIV epidemic.
According to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Director of the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention for CDC, there is a lot of buzz about the campaign: “Let’s Stop HIV Together is a positive call to action at a time when we have the tools to stop HIV and end AIDS. But it takes everyone – together – to make a difference. The first step is to be aware of the tremendous impact HIV continues to have in the United States and to get the facts, get tested and get involved.”
You can continue to participate in HIV photo sharing initiatives, particularly as World AIDS Day 2012 (December 1) approaches. You can like the Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign on Facebook , where you can also view the photo gallery and access campaign public service announcements. Additionally, you can go to www.actagainstaids.org to access campaign materials. And you can promote the campaign with the hashtag #StopHIVTogether.
Adding your photo to the Facing AIDS initiative just became easier. The Facing AIDS iPhone/iPad app is now available for free on the iTunes App Store. The app makes it easier than ever to help end the epidemic through your personalized photo and message through three quick and easy steps. The app can be used by individuals or at group events. Instructions for replicating a Facing AIDS photo sharing event within your community can be found at http://facing.aids.gov/
These photo sharing campaigns provide great opportunities for community engagement. Please tell us how you evaluate the impact of photo sharing. Join AIDS.gov for photo sharing opportunities at the U.S. Conference on AIDS and World AIDS Day 2012!
Special thanks to Solange Han-Barthelemy, Health Communication Specialist, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, NCHHSTP, CDC for contributing to this post.