Russian HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign Launched as Part of Global Media AIDS Initiative
Russian media executives on Monday launched a new advertising campaign as part of the Global Media AIDS Initiative in advance of World AIDS Day in an effort to increase HIV/AIDS awareness and education in the country, USA Today reports (Sternberg, USA Today, 12/1). The Russian Media Partnership to Combat HIV/AIDS -- a coalition of leading media outlets and organizations, led by Gazprom-Media, Prof-Media, ROL, CTC Television and MTV Russia -- launched the campaign, called StopSPID, or "stop AIDS." The initiative includes public service announcements, television and radio programs, an Internet campaign, consumer product placement and print editorial content. The first cycle of advertisements began Monday during prime-time television and radio programs and will continue in print publications throughout the week. StopSPID on Monday also launched its Web site, which includes comprehensive HIV/AIDS information and prevention strategies. The first wave of the three-year campaign targets the country's general population, with a focus on young people and parents. Eleven television, radio and print advertisements have been produced for the campaign's first stage. Members of the Russian Media Partnership have pledged more than $50 million in commercial advertising space for the campaign in 2005 (Transatlantic Partners Against AIDS release, 11/29). Between 700,000 and 1.5 million people in Russia are HIV-positive, although that number could increase fivefold by 2025 "unless something can be done to turn the tide," according to USA Today.
The Russian Media Partnership last week previewed the advertisements at a U.N. working session, titled "Creative Summit: Tackling HIV & AIDS Creatively," which was aimed at enlisting media companies in the fight against HIV/AIDS worldwide. The summit marked the first-ever global session built on the efforts of the Global Media AIDS Initiative -- a joint program of UNAIDS, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the United Nations Department of Public Information, which was launched by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in January. The meeting was organized Viacom, MTV Networks International, Kaiser Family Foundation, UNAIDS and UNDPI, and was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The idea of a media partnership was "pioneered" by Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation, according to USA Today (USA Today, 12/1). Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation in January 2003 launched KNOW HIV/AIDS, which is a campaign aimed at raising HIV/AIDS awareness through PSAs, television and radio programming and free print and online content. The campaign -- which includes media placements valued at more than $200 million in 2004 -- is targeted at both the general population and groups hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, such as people under age 25, minorities, women and men who have sex with men (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/16). Actor Richard Gere attended the meeting, telling media executives that "lagging" prevention efforts will "make it harder to curb" the spread of HIV/AIDS, USA Today reports. "If you're in the business of AIDS, now's the time to make your investment. Right now," Gere said. Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone said, "We cannot stand idly by. ... These are our neighbors, our customers, our colleagues, and in some cases our family members. We operate in areas of the world where this is a critical issue faced by our audiences" (USA Today, 12/1).