VOLUNTARY SECTOR CAMPAIGN: Red Cross uses social networks for HIV alerts

More than 25 years since the first Aids case was diagnosed, HIV is having a devastating impact on young people worldwide.

Campaign: HIV: What's the story?
Client: British Red Cross
PR team: In-house
Timescale: November - December 2007
Budget: Less than £8,000

More than half of all new infections are among those aged under 25 and more than 15 million children have been orphaned. Efforts to respond to the pandemic need to be continued by the next generation. HIV is on the rise in the UK with an average of 24 people being diagnosed every day.


To highlight the effect of the HIV pandemic on young people by gauging their opinions. To highlight British Red Cross (BRC) HIV programmes with young people in South Africa, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia and the UK.


The NGO commissioned Ipsos Mori to conduct an international survey of young people's attitudes and knowledge of HIV and Aids. The study found one in seven young people in Britain would not remain friends with someone if they had HIV and only 32 per cent are worried about getting HIV.

The BRC commissioned digital media agency Enable to develop the www.redcrosshiv.org microsite to engage UK-based 16- to 20-year-olds. The site was launched one week before World Aids Day (1 December 2007). Enable produced 'nano-soap' HIV: What's the story? for the site to highlight how HIV affects young people wherever they live in the world.


The campaign broke across Bebo, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Bebo put the campaign on its home-page for World Aids Day.

In addition, press attention included the front page of Metro and articles on Sky News and in The Guardian.


Within eight weeks the social networking sites had been viewed 39,000 times, with 1,840 users taking a quiz or poll and 959 signing up as 'friends'.

The microsite got 2,755 unique visits and the HIV section on the BRC website received 3,832.

The nano-soap was viewed 4,517 times on YouTube and the videos have been highly rated by users on all sites, showing a high level of engagement by young people. In addition, 15 young people expressed an interest in volunteering as peer educators for the British Red Cross.

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