Twitter today launched another global expansion of our #ThereIsHelp notification service with a dedicated search prompt for HIV-related information across the Asia Pacific and the Americas: Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, SP-Latam, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.
This notification prompt will provide valuable and authoritative resources around HIV and encourage people to reach out and get help when they need it. Building on our #ThereIsHelp notification service currently available for mental health and suicide prevention, vaccination, child sexual exploitation, COVID-19, gender-based violence, and freedom of expression; this work is part of our efforts to ensure people have access to high-quality public health information and resources.
When people search for keywords associated with HIV, the top search result will now include a notification in local languages, encouraging them to reach out for credible information and sources of help — be it websites or hotlines of local public health authorities or non-profit organizations.
Twitter will continue to work closely with public health authorities and leading NGOs that provide critical emergency care, testing, emotional support, and counseling services to ensure that the keywords that generate the notification prompt remain relevant. Some of the search keywords include but are not limited to:
Commenting on the global partnership with Twitter; Mahesh Mahalingam, Director, Communications and Global Advocacy, UNAIDS said “Forty years since the first AIDS cases were reported, HIV still threatens the world. But ending AIDS requires ending inequalities, which necessitates transformative change. The course corrections we need to end AIDS will also protect the world against future pandemics. Therefore, we are very pleased to partner with Twitter in our journey ahead. This World AIDS Day, we’d encourage everyone to use #ThereIsHelp to access critical information around HIV, and remind ourselves that global inequalities affect us all, no matter who we are or where we are from. Together with Twitter, we hope to move societies from commitment to action by widening access to authoritative information, encouraging dialogue, and shaping public discourse towards creating healthy and inclusive societies.”
“We’re committed to protecting the health of the public conversation on Twitter — ensuring individuals can find credible information from authoritative sources is a key part of that mission. We also recognized that it is crucial for the public to have access to a free and #OpenInternet in combating the stigma around HIV. Therefore, we’ve partnered with public health authorities and local nonprofit organizations across the Asia Pacific to provide people with access to accurate information about HIV, get the help that they need, and launch a dedicated #ThereisHelp notification prompt for HIV. We look forward to continuing the collaborations to help promote inclusion and diversity and fight against inequalities, as well as HIV stigma and discrimination,” said Monrawee Ampolpittayanant – Head of Public Policy, Government, and Philanthropy, Southeast Asia at Twitter.
HIV stigma during COVID-19
HIV remains a major issue to public health in 2021, despite significant progress having been made in recent decades. Division and disparity for human rights have long been the contributing factors to the difficulty faced by people living with HIV. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult by exacerbating inequities and disruptions to services related to HIV. In 2020, around 800,000 children aged 0-14 years were living with HIV with no access to treatments.
This year’s theme of World AIDS Day is “End inequalities. End AIDS.” with a special focus on highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services. WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally to confront the inequalities that drive AIDS and to reach people who are currently not receiving essential HIV services.
Data from Twitter shows that conversations about HIV spikes around #WorldAIDSDay on December 1 every year. In 2020, there were close to 9 million Tweets about HIV globally, out of which over 1 million Tweets were generated in December 2020.
At Twitter, we recognize our role and responsibility to help ensure that people can access and receive support on our service when they need it the most. The various communities on Twitter are a source of positive support and are thriving; encouraging each other who may be struggling with stigma or lack of information around HIV, and to reach out for professional help.
United to help provide more access to information
We recognize that access to a free and #OpenInternet and collaboration — public, private, and community — is the key to combating the stigma around HIV. As local organizations continue to use Twitter as a channel to identify and reach out to vulnerable people who they may otherwise not have contact with, and to raise awareness of their important services; we hope that the #ThereIsHelp notification service will complement these efforts.
Twitter partners with trusted NGO and government partners in 30 markets to make #ThereIsHelp HIV notification prompt possible, and will continue to expand these prompts in other markets in the near future. In the Philippines, Twitter partnered with LoveYourself, Inc. (@LoveYourselfPh).
“LoveYourself, Inc. started its roots as a volunteer-based HIV organization with a single tweet that enabled Filipino Twitter users to have a safe space to talk about their sexual health until we could bring it down to the grassroots levels by establishing community centers and outreach programs and multi-platform campaigns. Operating in one of the countries with still rising cases of HIV, LoveYourself explores all its options to respond to the persisting HIV epidemic in the Philippines. We offer a holistic and differentiated care approach to serve the HIV continuum of care for awareness, prevention, testing, treatment, and support with the help of our stakeholders, such as the government, the private sector, the media, and international organizations like Twitter. The use of Twitter has been a primordial part of our awareness strategy to reach and mobilize key populations for HIV in the Philippines, and this partnership will undoubtedly provide a tenfold impact to the communities we serve as we continue to use the platform in influencing Filipinos’ mindset to nurture their self-worth and take care of their sexual health as a way to love themselves,” said Raybert D. Domingo – Director for Communications and Community Development at LoveYourself, Inc.
In partnership with UNAIDS (@UNAIDS), we are also launching a special red ribbon emoji to raise awareness of HIV. The emoji, which is the symbol for World AIDS day, is available from today to December 5, 2021. It will automatically appear in your Tweet when you Tweet with the #WorldAIDSDay hashtag.
Twitter understands its role in disseminating important public health information. It’s important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and wellbeing. We believe #ThereIsHelp and Twitter’s other partnerships and initiatives in this area make a valuable contribution to the ongoing and larger efforts required to address this serious issue. Wherever you are, please know that #ThereIsHelp.
Photo credit: Ajit Solanki / AP