The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Population Services International (PSI) signed an agreement for a five-year extension of AIDSMark, a global project that uses social marketing to try to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This agreement will extend AIDSMark activities until 2007.

AIDSMark operates in 29 countries in an effort to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT), to delay sexual debut among youth, and to franchise services to treat STIs. All of these programmes operate condom social marketing projects, 14 deliver voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services, and three offer STI services.
Communication Strategies: 

AIDSMark campaigns - which use mass media, peer education, school programmes, community theatre, mobile multi-media events, and training sessions - encourage healthy lifestyles and behaviours while communicating risks. Examples of programmes, which are designed on the basis of the results of quantitiative and qualitative research, include:

  • the design, marketing, and dispersal of pre-packaged kits and syndromic case management via existing health-care service providers to treat male urethritis due to STIs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • education campaigns focusing on parent-child communication that address teenage girls with multiple or older partners.
  • Operation Lighthouse - a drop-in centre in India for peer education in AIDS prevention, condom use, health risks to sex workers, and condom negotiation. Involves working with street magicians, taxi drivers, film stars, and bartenders to deliver messages to sex workers and their male clients on the streets.
  • youth programmes that include: Take It With You (Russia) - youth campaign promoting HIV prevention and condom use through a youth-oriented website; Youth Alert! (Malawi) - focuses on abstinence and safe sex through radio, telephone help lines, street theatre, and educational events at secondary schools; and Club Cool (Haiti) - 24 centres publish a youth magazine called Journal Jen Yo and sponsor concerts, parties, and discussion forums.
  • the marketing of AIDSMark brand condoms - features pop stars and models and works to overcome cultural and other barriers to condom use by, for example, enlisting community leaders and using area-specific proverbs in posters. AIDSMark focuses on less traditional points of sale like bars, hotels, gas stations, and cinemas.

In the next five-year phase, AIDSMark continue to develop its MTCT and VCT marketing models. It will also refine communications strategies that address barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention on a regional or global basis. In Africa, for instance, AIDSMark is designing a pan-African campaign addressing key obstacles to behaviour change, such as trust in one's partner. Also planned is an assessment of male circumcision (MC) programmes in Western Kenya and Haiti, followed by a launching of two pilot MC programmes.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Gender, Health, Family Planning, Youth.

Key Points: 

According to AIDSMark, the first four and a half years of the original agreement led to an increase in the monthly client flow in the VCT programme in Zimbabwe from 230 to 4,000. AIDSMark now has VCT programs in 14 countries. AIDSMark's pilot MTCT programme in Haiti began in March 2002 by testing 16 women; by May that number reached 400. In addition, AIDSMark assisted nine new countries in 2002: Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Bulgaria, Croatia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mozambique and Nicaragua.

Partner Text: 

USAID, PSI, DKT International, Family Health International (FHI), International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Management Sciences for Health (MSH), Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH).


Press release sent by David Olson to The Communication Initiative on July 1, 2002.