NPIN Hosts First Bilingual Twitter Chat for HIV/AIDS Prevention

As part of its monthly Twitter chats, CDC’s National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) hosted its first bilingual Twitter chat on June 20, focusing on HIV prevention in the Latino/Hispanic communities, with support services from Danya team members. NPIN uses its Twitter chats to share messages with and connect its numerous followers to ways in which to implement structured interventions at the ground level around HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, STDs, and tuberculosis. For this chat, that meant connecting key partners who can have the greatest influence within the Latino/Hispanic community—one of the cultures hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, according to CDC.

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In 2010, Latinos accounted for 21 percent of all new HIV infections. With this in mind, NPIN worked closely with key partners like the AIDS Project Los Angeles, Latino Commission on AIDS, and the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Capacity Building Branch and Office of Health Equity to discuss HIV prevention successes and challenges in Latino/Hispanic communities, integrating HIV prevention messages with other public health messages, understanding risk groups, and highlighting the upcoming National HIV Testing Day. The chat also highlighted the new CDC Reasons/Razones campaign, which is a national bilingual AIDS prevention campaign for Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men.

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Overall, the bilingual chat was successful in drawing attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS in Latino/Hispanic communities and helped a variety of state and local organizations hear the best practices and strategies used by prevention partners across the country.  The chat had more than 80 participants, 764 posts, and a potential reach of more than 3.3 million.

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From a structural perspective, Twitter chats like these have the capacity to connect, engage, and teach partners from across the country in ways that other tactics cannot. Unlike a formal meeting or costly conference, participants can contribute from the comfort of their offices and walk away with invaluable best practices, lessons learned, and new strategies that can help in their future program planning. In many ways, Twitter chats provide an opportunity to learn from others, save time and resources by hearing others’ stories, and create a culture sharing around a topic that affects so many.

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It is imperative that we continue to raise HIV/AIDS awareness and promote prevention with social media, especially within communities at risk. As we recognize National HIV Testing Day this Thursday (June 27), let us remember our due diligence to share prevention messages, get tested for HIV, and encourage others to do so. This year’s theme is “Take the Test, Take Control.” It can only be effective and have true impact if WE ALL take responsibility for our own health.

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Save the date for our next NPIN Twitter chat (#NPINChat), July 18 at 2 p.m. EST, and follow up with @CDCNPIN for more details to come!

By Carlos Chapman

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