Columbus Dispatch Examines Media Efforts To Educate Young People About HIV/AIDS
The Columbus Dispatch on Sunday examined efforts by Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation to educate young people about HIV/AIDS through media campaigns (Havertz, Columbus Dispatch, 8/29). Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation in June as part of their KNOW HIV/AIDS public education partnership launched a new series of print, radio and television public service announcements aimed at raising HIV/AIDS awareness and breaking down the stigma associated with HIV testing. The 2004 campaign includes media placements valued at more than $200 million. In 2003, the initiative created 49 television, radio and outdoor ads. The PSAs present HIV testing as an "essential part of a healthy, loving relationship." All of the ads include the tagline "Knowing is Beautiful," the KNOW HIV/AIDS Web site address -- knowhivaids.org -- and toll-free phone number, 1-866-344-KNOW. The campaign also included special programming on shows airing on CBS, UPN, MTV, BET, VH1 and Showtime throughout June. A second wave of advertising is scheduled to begin in the fall (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/10). Tina Hoff, a Kaiser Family Foundation vice president and director of entertainment media partnerships, said, "We worked with channels like MTV and BET for years, but the collaboration on this company level is unprecedented."
VH1, Global Fund Produce PSAs
VH1, Viacom's cable music network, is working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to produce PSAs that focus attention on HIV/AIDS and other diseases, according to the Dispatch. "It was important to us to find something really actionable for our audience," VH1 President Christina Norman said about the PSA campaigns (Columbus Dispatch, 8/29). Under the two-year media partnership agreement, VH1 and the Global Fund will produce a series of PSAs to encourage viewers to learn more about the epidemic. The commercials direct viewers to VH1.com/AIDS or a special Global Fund Web site to learn more about HIV/AIDS and ways to become involved in fighting the epidemic (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/9). Norman said that VH1's audience tends to be older and many people remember when AIDS first appeared in the media, according to the Dispatch. "I think that for a lot of [VH1 viewers], I was feeling that they had sort of checked out of the issue, that they thought AIDS was over," she said, adding, "We really needed to find a way to reconnect them to the crisis."
One Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the number of print journalism stories on HIV/AIDS in the United States has steadily declined since 1987, even as the global AIDS epidemic has gotten worse, according to the Dispatch. Mollyann Brodie, vice president and director of public opinion and media research at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said that the decline in coverage is concerning. "There is less space devoted to the topic, and in the last years, the coverage was rather global than domestic," she said, adding that the declining media coverage of HIV/AIDS has contributed to a decline in the number of people who view the epidemic as an "urgent health issue." A recent survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Associated Press showed that 61% of respondents think AIDS is a "very serious" national health problem, compared with nearly 90% who said so in 1987, the Dispatch reports. Kate Roberts of Youth AIDS, a Washington, D.C.-based AIDS organization, said, "I think the work (of VH1 and Viacom) is great, but 30-second spots only work if teamed up with more information." Hoff said that the KNOW HIV/AIDS campaign is working with Viacom-produced shows to include AIDS-related storylines. In addition, the Global Media AIDS Initiative was established in January to engage media companies to do more to educate the public about HIV/AIDS (Columbus Dispatch, 8/29). The idea of the Global Media AIDS Initiative, which is an alliance between the United Nations and the media, was generated through a partnership between UNAIDS and the Kaiser Family Foundation, with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/16).