There are many areas in South Africa that need sustained and focused attention if they are to meet UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 targets. One such area is Amathole.
TB HIV Care’s HTS campaign in Amathole is a strong call to action: Get tested, get treated SHA’P SHA’P.
The SHA’P (which also stands for our ‘Stop HIV Action Plan’) campaign aims to get as many people testing as possible – and to get those who have tested positive (even in the past) onto immediate treatment.
The SHA’P campaign is supported by a strong regional radio and social media campaign – as well as IEC material (English and Xhosa). Our Consortium Partner, Community Media Trust (CMT), created and concurrently launched a PR campaign that includes the following:
- Live interviews on local radio stations
- Radio spots/public service announcements (English and isiXhosa)
- A WhatsApp number for lead generation
- Social Media (incl. Facebook and Twitter)
- On the ground activations and events
Combining traditional ‘mass media’ with a social media campaign and a WhatsApp number has been particularly powerful. One WhatsApp message read:
“I just heard your message on the radio. I tested positive in 2012. This month I want to start my treatment.”
TB HIV Care’s COO, Gareth Lowndes, says that social media data provides a unique insight into who is seeking out information and linkage to treatment on social media – and why.
People sometimes avoid accessing healthcare services because of a perceived fear of disclosure, fear of being identified seeking access to meds at the clinic (and subsequent disclosure) and a fear of lack of confidentiality at their local clinic.
Gareth notes that social media is available and acceptable. Some people find it easier to interact on various social media platforms, “People start out seeking information in a generic manner and eventually end up at a core question ‘where can I get treatment?’ This indicates that people know their status but that there are barriers to accessing treatment”.
The social media/direct communication platforms are easy to access, non-confrontational and perceived as anonymous and confidential. These insights can help us better design communications campaigns and service delivery options to increase uptake and viral suppression (the second and third 90s). As Gareth says, “We often focus on targets and numbers (which is useful), but it’s also critical that we acknowledge and appreciate human communication pathways”.