HIV/AIDS information promotion at the library: creative campaigns for young adults
Keywords:Information Outreach, Graphic Medicine, Comics, Social Media, Social Marketing
Background: While rates of new HIV diagnoses have gone down nationally, Florida’s HIV-positive population is growing and remains one of the largest in the country. Given this landscape, it is clear that diverse, creative, and collaborative efforts are needed to better inform the public about HIV risks, prevention, and treatment and to encourage healthy behaviors.
Case Presentation: Building on previous work, librarians at the University of Florida engaged in a yearlong project to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS risks, prevention, and treatment among university students and to improve their information-seeking behaviors related to this disease. The “Creative Campaigns” project included 3 distinct elements of activity and engagement, designed to complement one another: a graphic novel contest, a social media campaign, and training for campus health care providers. The contest yielded 4 high-quality submissions, and the monthlong social media campaign garnered over 50,000 views and utilized Facebook ads to extend beyond the library’s typical audience. The instruction proved useful to campus counseling and wellness staff.Conclusions: Overall, the team considered the project a success in terms of reaching new audiences in new ways, and several of its components have been integrated into subsequent projects and regular operations. Exploring new methods of outreach through social media and creative formats required careful planning and the development of new skill sets amongst project team members but proved to be a rewarding way to generate engagement in the local community.
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