Monday, May 11, 2009

AHF Goes Viral with Safer-Sex, AIDS Advocacy Videos-Reaches 9 Million Viewers


Nonprofit Group’s Latest Viral Video—“Sex Network”—Promotes HIV Testing, Directs Public to Visit to Find Out About Where to Get Tested

AHF’s Recent Successful Online Advocacy Includes Campaigns with Messaging Aimed at President Obama, Governor Schwarzenegger and Drug Giant Abbott Labs’ CEO.

To complement its traditional media strategy AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the US’ largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider, has recently gone viral, reaching millions of online users with its innovative HIV/AIDS advocacy and prevention campaigns distributed on the internet. Utilizing video and text created in-house or by contracted agencies, AHF’s most recent viral campaigns have achieved impressive results, reaching nearly nine million viewers and driving millions of visitors to its website:

The organization’s most recent effort includes an original viral video public service announcement promoting HIV-testing entitled “Sex Network.” The video depicts a fictional scenario in which a young man in his twenties, Guy, is sitting alone in his living-room and is suddenly asked by an unseen announcer voice: “Have you been tested for HIV?” He denies needing to be tested saying, “I have nothing to worry about. I’ve only slept with 3 people.” Suddenly, his 3 ex-girlfriends appear in his living-room. “But I’ve slept with 5 people,” says one. And 5 more people suddenly appear. “And I’ve slept with 9,” says another. And those 9 people pop into the picture. This continues until Guy’s living room is filled with people of all stripes confessing how many partners they have had. Finally, alarmed, Guy turns to the camera and asks, “Now what do I do?” The unseen voice answers with the following words, which also appear on the screen: “Get tested now. Go to” The video can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.

AHF has also distributed a humorous and informative animated educational video called “How to Use a Condom” that directs viewers to its website This public service announcement can be viewed by clicking here. These two campaigns combined have already reached a total of 2,747,996 online viewers.

“In the field of HIV prevention, creating innovative messages to promote safer sex, HIV testing and condom-use is of critical importance in helping to reach a sometimes complacent audience,” said Whitney Engeran-Cordova, Director of Public Health Division for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “It is our hope that the imaginative content of our viral videos such as ‘Sex Network’ and ‘How to Use a Condom’ engages the online public with a laugh and good information, inspiring individuals to actively participate in protecting their own health and that of their partners by getting tested for HIV and consistently using condoms. Moving into new media and increasing AHF’s online outreach is especially important to reaching a younger audience—a segment of the population in which rates of HIV and STDs are on the rise nationwide.”

In addition to HIV/AIDS social marketing campaigns, AHF has also effectively utilized the internet to mobilize supporters to participate in crucial HIV/AIDS advocacy campaigns at the state and federal levels. An AHF video, created by its in-house marketing and communications team, recently challenged President Obama’s silence on AIDS during his first 100 days in office. The 60-second ad contains a brief history of the first 28 years of the epidemic highlighting presidential responses to HIV/AIDS and implores President Obama to be “the change we can believe in on AIDS.” In addition to appearing on select television stations in New York and Washington D.C., the ad was distributed virally generating 2,128,810 unique page visitors to AHF’s website and more than 2,000 e-letters to President Obama. The complete ad may be viewed here.

In March of this year, an AHF e-campaign succeeded in preserving “Positive Healthcare”—an HIV/AIDS health care program operated by AHF serving indigent Californians living with HIV/AIDS—by helping to generate 5,000 letters to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger urging him to “have a heart” and save the 15-year-old program. AHF created a 60-second video parody of Governor Schwarzenegger that was pushed out virally generating 6 million impressions and aired as a paid TV commercial on select television stations in Sacramento and Los Angeles prompting nearly 1.5 million people to view the multi-media webpage. The video can be viewed in its entirety by clicking here.

“As the coverage by and reach of so-called ‘traditional’ media—particularly TV and print—continues to dwindle, it has become an urgent priority for AHF to adapt its public health and advocacy messages to new media in order to reach people where they live, work, shop and gather news and information now—which is increasingly on the internet,” said Michael Weinstein, “Nonprofit public service organizations must continue to evolve and innovate if we want our important messages to be heard by the public as well as in the halls of power. AHF is pleased to share our recent success in reaching new audiences and looks forward to continuing to grow our presence on the web as we seek to ensure maximum reach and impact of our urgent advocacy and safer-sex messages.”

One of the first examples of AHF adapting to new media and internet video opportunities came in January of this year when AHF produced a humorous 60 second commercial focusing on Miles White, CEO of Abbott Laboratories, over the steep prices the Chicago-based drug giant charges for its lifesaving AIDS drugs in poor countries around the globe. The spot aired on select cable television stations in the Chicago area. However, the serious, yet whimsical spot, which featured a still photo of Mr. White that AHF had edited by animating his lips in order to appear that White was narrating the spot, found far greater resonance—and a far wider audience—at home on YouTube driving hundreds of thousands of viewers to AHF’s website to learn more about the drug pricing issue. The “Miles White Parody” can be seen here.

In addition to producing and distributing video content, AHF has also created issue-specific “micro-sites” to allow users easy, convenient access to the information they are seeking. Driving traffic to these sites— and --continues to be a major goal of the organization, which also utilizes social networking to support its advocacy and outreach campaigns. AHF actively engages supporters and stakeholders by providing interactive content on the following sites: YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Google,, Technorati and LiveJournal.

To view the “Sex Network” video, as well as other HIV/AIDS prevention and advocacy-related video content generated by AHF, please visit the organization’s website at or its YouTube page at

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About AHF
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the nation’s largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia.

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