The Latin American Media AIDS Initiative (IMLAS, for its acronym in Spanish), an unprecedented collaboration by leading broadcasters in the response to HIV/AIDS
D. Fiore, L. Cahn
Fundación Huésped, Communication and Resources Development, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Issues: Although it is the third most HIV/AIDS affected region, stigma, discrimination and misinformation persist across Latin America. With communications infrastructure and ability to influence behavior, media represent a formidable force to fight HIV. However, media has long been an underutilized resource.
Description: The Global Media AIDS Initiative was launched in 2004 to leverage the power of media against HIV/AIDS. As part of it and in response to the overlooked but growing pandemic in the region, the Latin American Media AIDS Initiative represents an unprecedented collaboration by leading broadcasters. It goes beyond a traditional PSA campaign by emphasizing the integration of HIV/AIDS messages across programming platforms and by pledging staff time, creative expertise, and airtime.
As opinion leaders, the media's engagement also sends a powerful signal to policymakers and other stakeholders. The success of the model is reinforced by evidence that media companies can strengthen brands and benefit financially from their efforts to fight HIV/AIDS.
From its first year of operations, IMLAS results include: 33 broadcasters in 13 countries engaged in the partnership - 25 aired the campaign and 6 fictional HIV-related plots; 10 participated in journalism and 4 in script-writer trainings. More than 45,000 seconds of airtime were donated, the campaign website was visited by 4000 unique visitors in two month and the Facebook site gathers almost 8.000 fans. Finally, 68 media professionals were sensibizated.
Lessons Learned: This Latin American collaborative relationship among broadcasters, civil society institutions, and public health experts creates a powerful alignment of interests and experience that will build local capacity and strengthen social infrastructures.
Next Steps: The second year of operations of the IMLAS will deepen the work done at the start up, focusing on a second campaign and on the work with scriptwriters to include HIV/AIDS related contents in fictional plots.
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