As part of its Act Against AIDS umbrella campaign, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) engaged FHI 360 to implement the Testing Makes Us Stronger social marketing campaign, developed to disseminate HIV testing messages and information to black gay and bisexual men. The campaign aims to encourage black gay and bisexual men ages 18–44 to get tested for HIV more frequently, with an emphasis on reaching men ages 18–24, who are most at risk of the disease.
Testing Makes Us Stronger encourages men to "stay strong and informed." The campaign depicts a diverse range of black gay men and includes national print and online advertising, a dedicated website and Facebook page, promotion at black gay pride events, and advertising in gay and African-American neighborhoods in cities where black gay and bisexual men are heavily affected by HIV.
The campaign includes:
- Campaign promotions — print and digital promotions in media outlets that reach black gay and bisexual men
- Pride events — outreach to black gay and bisexual men at black pride and gay pride events in cities nationwide, including implementation cities where there is concentrated local promotion. Pride activities include partnering with local community organizations to promote the campaign and increase testing at pride events, on-site outreach to attendees, promotional material distribution and promotion in event programs and on event websites
- Community engagement — collaborations with health departments, community organizations and stakeholders in implementation cities to integrate the campaign and supporting materials into existing programs and services to increase the frequency of HIV testing among black gay and bisexual men
- Website — online information about HIV transmission, testing and prevention, and resources such as campaign ads, web banners and HIV testing site widgets
- Social media — outreach to encourage black gay and bisexual men to connect with the campaign through Facebook and Twitter (@TalkHIV), using the campaign hashtag #CDCStronger. This includes leveraging a team of Digital Ambassadors (online influencers) to rally collective resources and drive the conversation on HIV testing in communities
- Educational materials — posters, postcards, business cards, window clings and brochures for distribution throughout the United States by local public health agencies, businesses and community-based organizations
- Public service announcement — A 30-second video promoting the campaign
The initiative seeks to increase self-efficacy to get tested for HIV, boost information searches on CDC-supported websites about HIV testing and locations, expand the number of black gay and bisexual men who intend to test for HIV, and increase the number of black gay and bisexual men who report testing for HIV as frequently as recommended.
FHI 360 staff, with support from Octane Public Relations, is revising campaign products as needed, expanding social media and web outreach, developing and implementing community engagements, expanding support of pride and black pride events, supporting campaign expansion to additional cities, implementing media buys, leveraging strategies for campaign materials, and conducting monitoring and reporting on campaign outcomes.