What does HIV prevention mean to you? Write it on your hand, take a photo, and share it.

In the lead-up to World AIDS Day (WAD), December 1 2016, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) implemented a social media-based communication campaign designed to get people worldwide involved in advocating for HIV prevention. For each of the 9 weeks leading up to WAD, the campaign highlighted a different aspect of HIV prevention and explored the topics relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations, and people living with HIV.

Communication Strategies: 

Starting in September, the campaign offered people a space to express their views on what they think needs to be done to strengthen HIV prevention efforts. The topics for each week included: Invest in HIV Prevention; Key Populations; Testing Viral Suppression; Empowerment of Young Women/Girls; PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis); EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV); VMMC (voluntary male medical circumcision); Harm Reduction; and Condoms. UNAIDS asked people around the world to submit:

  • A photograph of a word or short phrase written on the palm of their hand summarising what we need to strengthen HIV prevention efforts - for example, increasing condom use, focusing on empowerment and inclusion, and taking steps to advance the rights for women and girls; and/or
  • A short video message (maximum 30 seconds) recorded on a smartphone explaining what in their view needs to be done to reduce new HIV infections in their community - for example, changing certain policies or approaches.

People were then asked to go to a specially created event page on Facebook for the #HIVprevention campaign and then to share the post on their own Facebook wall to help spread the word.

Other campaign materials, such as suggested tweets and posters and postcards, were made available for download campaign website. Here also are multiple examples of ways in which the campaign played out in various settings around the world. For example, on November 15 2016, the Minister of Health of Tajikistan called for people to know their HIV status at a public event in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in support of the campaign. Held at the newly opened city medical centre, the event united more than 500 representatives of the Government of Tajikistan, health professionals, celebrities, and young people. During the event, a new mobile diagnostic complex was donated to the Government of Tajikistan by the Russian Government under the framework of the Regional Cooperation Programme. The complex will operate in remote mountainous and rural areas in Tajikistan and will provide population at higher risk of HIV infection, including migrants and their families, with access to integrated HIV testing and counselling and other forms of medical diagnostics and treatment.

Organisations around the world took place in the campaign, offering resources connected with each week's campaign theme; see, for example, the AIDSFree website.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

Held annually since 1988, WAD is a day to remember those who have died from AIDS and to honour the efforts of people who have contributed to global efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

The 2016 UNAIDS Prevention gap report shows that, worldwide, an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for at least the past 5 years and that the number of new HIV infections is rising in some regions. The report shows that HIV prevention efforts must be reinvigorated if the world is to stay on the Fast-Track to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

See video

Email from AIDSFree to The Communication Initiative on December 1 2016; and AIDSFree website, campaign brochure [PDF], and campaign website - all accessed on December 1 2016.