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Get Plugged In
Get Plugged In is an AVERT campaign dedicated to empowering young people to lead on HIV prevention, by helping provide the tools to allow a network of well-informed young people to harness the power of technology, to mobilise, and share knowledge with their peers in the fight against HIV.
As one of the leading HIV and AIDS websites in the world, it is obvious to AVERT the important role technology plays in the provision of sexual health education and information around the world. It is especially relevant among young people who, as research suggests, are increasingly becoming more comfortable with online sources of information, as opposed to traditional ones, like leaflets and books.
Today’s generation of young people is the largest ever, standing at 1.6 billion. It is for this reason that it is vital that young people can access information to help protect themselves and their peers. According to the latest statistics, there are currently 5.4 million young people living with HIV globally. Young people account for 39 percent of all new adult infections globally. 1
IN FOCUS: World Development Information Day 2013
World Development Information Day falls on October 24th each year, and is a United Nations endorsed day seeking to highlight the development problems facing many parts of the world today. The day recognises the potential of information and communication technology as integral to combatting these development challenges, and importantly, young people as the most influential vehicle in doing this.
“Improving the dissemination of information and the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly among young people... leads to greater awareness of the problems of development.”
To celebrate this day, AVERT asked a selection of young people who are all already engaged with the Get Plugged In campaign, what their views on the development challenges in their countries were, with a specific focus on HIV and AIDS. Some of the underlying development challenges relating to HIV and AIDS we identified include poverty, gender inequality, political instability, people not having their rights recognised and hard to reach groups.
Our Reflections on the Epidemic – A series of interviews from young people for World Development Information Day 2013 is a collection of inspiring and insightful interviews, that tap into the opinions and perspectives of young people on HIV and AIDS from four regions across the globe. Check it out!
What we've done!
As part of the launch of the Get Plugged In campaign, AVERT challenged young people around the world to come up with a creative and powerful infographic that conveys a message about HIV prevention.
The idea was to educate their peers with an HIV prevention message that was important to them, or to inform their peers by presenting data or information in an interesting and creative way. The entries could contain digital art, graphs, charts, photographs, illustrations, drawings, paintings… Any form of media was allowed! Importantly, the competition was not based on who had the best software, rather whose infographic represented the best visual or graphic representation of data or information.
We had an impressively high quality of entrants from Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, Australasia and Africa! With help from external judges Designers Against AIDS, Do Something, powered by vInspired and Student Stop AIDS, we were able to choose one winner and three runners-up!
Young People, Technology and HIV: an AVERT survey
To inform the campaign, AVERT conducted a small survey to understand more about how young people around the world were using different forms of technology, including mobile phones, social media, websites, chat forums, etc., to access information relating to HIV and AIDS and their overall sexual health. We received over 300 responses from 46 countries around the world. Backing-up previous research, we found that the large majority of young people now go online to find information about sexual health and HIV/AIDS; 83 percent of the respondents said they would go to websites for this type of information, compared to only 34 percent who indicated they would go straight to a doctor or a nurse- nearly the same amount who said they would seek advice from a friend (32 percent), or even use traditional sources such as leaflets and books (28 percent).
Reliability, clarity and speed of access of this type of information were the most important considerations for young people when accessing this information online. Ease of access, speed and confidentiality were the most important reasons behind using mobile phones, as opposed to an actual computer for this type of information.
There were regional disparities between the type of technology favoured by young people and considerations when accessing information about sexual health and HIV/AIDS. For example, 67 percent of respondents from Africa said they use mobile phones to access information of this kind, compared to just 31 percent in Europe, and 24 percent in South East Asia. Cultural-specific information was more important for people living in Africa, Asia, Middle-East & North Africa (MENA) and Latin American regions; 83% of people living in Africa indicated that culturally specific info was very important; compared to 51 percent in North America, and 40 percent in Europe.
Get Plugged In Forum
As part of the campaign, AVERT set up an online private forum for a network young people (aged 18-25) from around the world, and well informed about the epidemic, to interact and engage with one another on issues relating to HIV and AIDS and sexual health. The forum allows AVERT to engage young people in decisions around the campaign as well as sharing resources and tools. Through the forum, young people can start up discussions and ultimately learn more about the different challenges facing their peers in different parts of the world.
“Young people remain at the centre of the epidemic and they have the power, through their leadership, to definitively change the course of the AIDS epidemic.”
What other research has been done?
We have been compiling research to inform a new page on the AVERT website, which reviews some of the literature and case studies around technology as a sexual health promotion tool for young people. Stay tuned for it's launch!
We will be sharing the survey results with other HIV/AIDS and sexual health organisations working with young people, to give them some ideas about how to use technology as an HIV prevention and sex education tool.
The literature and resource review will help us identify what resources are out there and what are the most effective ways of using technology in this way. With the help of young people, we then hope to develop various exciting tools to empower young people to take control of their sexual health and share information with their peers. More to come soon!
AVERT’s partner organisations in Malawi and South Africa work closely with young people in their communities to empower them with knowledge about HIV/AIDS and safe sex. They are also getting involved in the Get Plugged In campaign to help shape it and to make sure that we are responding to what young people want!
Through the campaign we will be developing a range of online resources, including factsheets, infographics, photos, e-booklets, and so on, that can be shared with your peers. The Get Plugged In forum members have already helped AVERT design and develop a brand new infographic, "How to use a female condom", for World Female Condom Day on September 16th 2013, and was well received by many organisations and people working in the field.
“The actions of young people are shaping the future of AIDS across the world.”
Find this infographic, and an array of others on the dedicated "Learn and Share" section. Inform yourself, and share information with your peers by email, Facebook, or Twitter using the #GetPluggedIn hashtag.
We also developed a 'You, Me & HIV' e-Action which takes you on a journey around the world to meet different people affected by HIV.
- 1. UNAIDS (2013) ' Global Report: UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2013'