About the Project
The rise of social media and ICT over the last decade has fundamentally altered how individuals and communities across the globe interact, communicate, conduct their business, acquire and share knowledge, entertain themselves and connect to one another. Where there’s humans, there’s usually sex lingering not too far behind, and so it is that social media and ICT have also become powerful new tools in the pursuit of sexual pleasure, identity and community.
By extension, social media and ICT offer interesting platforms when it comes to promoting sexual health and engaging individuals and communities in prevention, education, treatment, advocacy and support activities related to HIV and other sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections (STBBIs). This idea hasn’t been lost on community organizations and service providers around the world, and there is an ever-growing number of resources about and interventions that use social media and ICT to offer support to individuals and communities who are living with, at risk and/or affected by HIV.
Although social media and ICT are ripe with potential when it comes to the delivery of HIV-related services, as fairly new approaches, there is still much to learn about how to optimize their use. With this in mind, the Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD) launched a project in 2016 to collect and share lessons learned from the HIV community on the use of social media and ICT.
This website is what emerged from the process. It contains a variety of lessons, ideas, resources and examples of interventions that use social media and ICT in the context of HIV prevention, education, treatment, advocacy and support. The case studies featured in the resource highlight initiatives that were carried out by community-based organizations, who were kind enough to share their reflections, suggestions and recommendations with us.
In addition to thanking the representatives of community-based organizations who generously shared their time and their expertise with us, we wish to recognize the support of the Steering Committee members, who provided feedback and guidance along the way. We also want to express our gratitude to the respondents who completed our online survey early in the project, the IT consultant who assisted with the development of the website, the translators who allowed us to develop a bilingual resource, and everyone else who contributed to making this website what it is.
The project was made possible through a contribution by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The research and writing for this project were carried out by Sophie Wertheimer, Consultant, in collaboration with Kate Alexander, ICAD.
Social media is an obvious and powerful tool to connect with MSM [men who have sex with men] and TGW [transgender women], especially those ‘hidden’ or hard to reach. There are no time or distance barriers. MSM and TGW are comfortable in this space. It’s a huge part of their everyday life and this is where they feel free to be themselves. Some MSM and TGW can only be approached on social media, so that is where we need to be for them.Thu Nuguyen Tan, Online Change Agent, PATH Vietnam