OraSure promotes at-home HIV test, awareness

BETHLEHEM, PA: OraSure Technologies, maker of the OraQuick in-home HIV test, is working with marketing firm Zer0 to 5ive on a national campaign to encourage consumers to be proactive about knowing their HIV status.

BETHLEHEM, PA: OraSure Technologies, maker of the OraQuick in-home HIV test, is working with marketing firm Zer0 to 5ive on a national campaign to encourage consumers to be proactive about knowing their HIV status.

The goal of the effort, “Make knowing your thing today,” is multifaceted. It asks people to share stories about their decision to test for HIV while also raising awareness of the kit and encouraging its use.

The integrated effort includes events, media outreach, organizational partnerships, a radio and TV tour, as well as advertising in TV, print, and digital channels.

It also includes a contest, which asks participants to submit a short video or photo with a caption to OraQuick.com/knowing about why they decided to get tested for HIV. The winner will be a part of a future promotional spot. The contest will run through July.   

The campaign's target audience includes sexually active adults, with a special emphasis on subpopulations that are disproportionately infected with HIV, such as Latinos, African-Americans, and gay men.

The first two groups provide unique outreach challenges due to cultural barriers and an increased stigma about the disease, said Kathleen Weber, SVP of consumer products at OraSure.

“They are at a different place when it comes to awareness about the need to get tested,” she said.

To appeal to these audiences, OraSure chose basketball great Earvin “Magic” Johnson as a spokesperson. This week, Johnson made the rounds on high-profile programs that target general audiences, such as Conan, and urban audiences like The Big Boy Show in Los Angeles.

His messaging emphasized that everyone has different reasons for getting tested and that it's important that there is an open and honest dialogue about HIV and AIDS to remove the stigma around testing.

Approved by the Food & Drug Administration last summer and launched last October, the test detects antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2 with an oral swab in as little as 20 minutes. It is available in most national drugstore chains and mass-merchandiser retail outlets.

GolinHarris, along with firm Zer0 to 5ive and Ferrara & Co. were named finalists for Healthcare Campaign of the Year at the PRWeek Awards 2013 for the launch of the test. Golin no longer works with OraSure, a representative from the firm said, noting that its contract's scope was only to launch the product.

Of the 1.2 million people in the US that have HIV, approximately 240,000 are unaware of their status, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who do not know they are HIV-positive are disproportionately responsible for the 50,000 new HIV infections that occur each year.

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