Let's have a Vine discussion about HIV

By John, YAHAnet Coordinator

To start off 2014, AIDS.gov wrote a great blog post about social media trends for the year ahead and how they could be incorporated into HIV efforts.

In that blog post, 'micro videos' shot on smartphones were highlighted as an area to really explore for HIV awareness and education.

Over the past year, I have seen a few organizations use the 6-second Vine video app really well for creative awareness. Perhaps the most impressive use was by German organization Jugend gegen Aids through its campaign #SixSecondsAgainstAIDS.

Click to watch two of the campaign submissions below!

  

Check out more submissions at http://www.sixsecondsagainstaids.com/.

Yet, this campaign doesn't show what the average young person is saying about HIV on Vine on a daily basis. Is #HIV even being used as a hashtag?

I decided to do a search of the #HIV hashtag on Vine and found that the vast majority of young people posting about HIV were doing so in the form of terribly ignorant and stigmatizing jokes. I will refrain from posting the Vine videos in question because they do not deserve to be watched again.

I know that there is also ignorance and discrimination on Twitter, for example, but it is being replaced more and more by the wonderful tweeting efforts of many HIV organizations and groups, who are turning #HIV into a #nostigma hashtag.

I then decided to do a Vine search using the #safesex hashtag. The results weren't as hurtful as the #HIV search, with some users discussing the importance of having condoms ready before sex. Click to watch.

    

Overall, the level of sarcasm and shaming on Vine can be quite high. Yet if more youth-led and youth-serving sexual health organizations start posting their messages to Vine, we may still be able to reclaim the #HIV and #safesex hashtags and turn them into a force for good and understanding. Individual Vine users will begin to see the benefits of carrying on a positive video dialogue...or at least maybe think twice before turning HIV into a terrible joke.

It will be important for HIV organizations to create Vines that

1) clarify myths
2) share facts and
3) use humour, but in a productive way, like the following examples.

  

Have you created a 'micro video' on Vine or Instagram related to sexual health and HIV? Please share it below!

Note: If you'd like to do a hashtag search of Vine videos from your laptop or desktop computer instead of your mobile device, go to http://seenive.com/explore