Increasing Virtual Demand Creation for HIV Control Services in Nigeria
September 9th, 2022 | News
September 9th, 2022 | News
To create demand for HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) control services in Nigeria, JSI, under the Total Market Approach (TMA) to HIV Prevention project implements a social media-based behavior change campaign called Keep it Safe and Sweet (KISS). Through KISS activities on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, about 1 million people have received HIV and STI control messages, and over 500 (mostly key populations [KPs]) linked to care at one-stop shops and other health facilities across Nigeria.
As with most social media platforms, however, only individuals who followed the KISS social media handles and KPs in the campaign’s closed-group WhatsApp platforms primarily received demand-creation messages. Although the project uses paid promotions to reach people beyond those following the KISS handles, such people must own an account on the specific social media platform used for the promotion to see the messages. Additionally, messages deployed via the KISS social media platforms are summarized, which means that opportunities to assess comprehensive on-the-spot information on HIV prevention and control are limited, unless an individual engages further with the team through private chat.
To navigate these limitations and expand the campaign’s reach, the team collaborated with a third-party web designer and hosted a website (www.kissnigeria.org). “We needed a platform that extended our existing social media platforms and where a wide range of people across the entire country can access comprehensive information on HIV control commodities and services,” explained Dr. Olawale Durosinmi-Etti, chief of party for the TMA project in Nigeria. The JSI team developed a creative brief that detailed the content and layout of the website, taking into consideration ease of navigation, simplicity of language, and overall appeal, especially to KPs.
The website launched on February 21, 2022. On the homepage, viewers can access comprehensive information on the various HIV control methods and commodities, addresses of one-stop shops, the national HIV response hot-line number, WhatsApp messaging plugin for one-on-one engagement, and much more. The website also hosts the national directory of public and private HIV service facilities in Nigeria, which makes it easy for people all over the country to access service points within their localities. A KP peer educator in Akwa Ibom said that “I have never seen a website like that before which takes care of the need of KPs; I’ve been seeing some international partner websites…but this is clearly a website loved by the members…the picture quality is beautiful, I like the write-ups, those HIV prevention messages and all of that …”
The website has in no small measure boosted the project’s demand-creation efforts. Using the website’s URL as a landing page, the project promotes content on Google AdWords to increase demand for HIV services in Nigeria. A series of messages—on, for example, HIV self-testing kits—deployed via Google AdWords was displayed across 6,879 websites surfed by Nigerians. The website’s URL is also being embedded in demand-related messages deployed across all KISS platforms social and digital media platforms—WhatsApp, WhatsApp TV, Instagram, Instagram Live, Twitter, Nairaland, Bellanaija blog, and short messaging service. This has increased the number of HIV-prevention messages that Nigerians have access to, as well as the opportunities for the project to engage and link more audiences to care.
Although still trickling in, the gains recorded from the website so far further demonstrate the efficacy of digital technologies for enhancing HIV service demand-creation. The TMA project and its partners will continue to use the website and other KISS virtual platforms to facilitate behavior change that will help Nigeria meet its goal of controlling the HIV epidemic by 2030.
The TMA project is implemented by JSI with funding from the United States Agency for International Development through a sub-award from Heartland Alliance Limited by Guarantee, under the Key Populations Community HIV Services Action and Response project.