Gay and bisexual men are the populations most affected by HIV nationwide, accounting for more than half of the over one million people living with HIV in the United States, and for two-thirds of all new infections each year. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study in 20 U.S. cities with high HIV prevalence found that more than one-third of men surveyed did not know the HIV status of their most recent male sex partner.
Start Talking. Stop HIV., a national campaign from the CDC developed by AIR communication and social marketing experts, launched in May 2014 at Ft. Lauderdale’s Pride Center at Equality Park of South Florida to promote HIV prevention among gay and bisexual men. Reflecting the reality that discussing HIV with a sexual partner can be challenging, the campaign uses practical tools and tips to broach sensitive but critical topics:
- HIV testing and status
- Safer sex, including using condoms and engaging in lower-risk sexual behaviors
- Medicines that prevent and treat HIV
Campaign concepts, messages, and materials, including a website and Facebook page, reflect input from more than 500 men of varying ages from different racial and ethnic groups across the country. Campaign partners included Brand-Aid, Dean Alexander, Steven Biver, Timmi Wolff, Clean Cuts, and Cerebral Lounge. Other key contributors were Altarum Institute, The Corkery Group, and McCulloch+Company.
AIR worked with CDC on the development and implementation of Start Talking. Stop HIV. from 2009-2014. As part of their work on Start Talking. Stop HIV. the AIR team supported CDC in developing campaign creative assets, including print ads, digital ads, web banners, posters, brochure, palm card, safer sex cheat sheet and talk cards. AIR also supported CDC in bringing Start Talking. Stop HIV. to gay and bisexual men throughout the U.S., via promotional booths at Pride events in Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, Charlotte and community engagement program in Jackson, Mississippi. AIR also facilitated national and local targeted media placements.