Feature story

Elena Pinchuk AntiAIDS Foundation and UNAIDS award interactive responses to AIDS

20 January 2012

Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation announced the winners of the “Social Media and Mobile Phones for HIV Prevention” competition on 18 January 2012.  The project entries by South African non-profit organization Cell-Life and by Chinese internet portal Danlan were declared winners.  More than 50 teams from 19 countries took part in the competition.

“We’ve received lots of creative ideas. We were really impressed by the high level of proposed projects,” said Olga Rudneva, Executive Director at Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation. “The format of the competition has made it possible to select the best works and also to find new associates in the response to AIDS.”

Organized in collaboration with the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention, the competition was launched on June 2011. It aimed at identifying innovative projects that use popular communication technologies to spread knowledge about HIV among young people.

The idea for the competition emerged from the UNAIDS supported Social Media and Mobile Technology Symposium held at Stellenbosch University in South Africa on 2 May 2011. The contest provided medical professionals, software designers, social media marketing experts and non-government organizations working on AIDS with an opportunity to present HIV prevention strategies that use online technologies to reduce HIV infection among youth as well as reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.

Winning project Cell-Life from South Africa will aim at reducing HIV infections by providing HIV prevention messages to young people in Khayelitsha through mobile technologies. The second winner project, Danlan portal, will develop online games containing HIV prevention information focusing on men who have sex with men. Through online versions of games such as “Truth or dare”, players will be informed about the risks associated with unprotected sex and the importance of preventive measures.

Social media is a major new channel of communication. It is changing fast, it is highly scaleable, and it is a powerful channel for influencing people's views and opinions

Geng Le, a Danlan company official

"Social media is a major new channel of communication. It is changing fast, it is highly scaleable, and it is a powerful channel for influencing people's views and opinions,” said Geng Le, a Danlan company official.  “We think our programme is a simple way of getting across important messages about a serious issue. This will make it more effective and easily accepted by those it seeks to target”.

Both winners will receive grants worth US$ 10 000 each to implement the projects. Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation also plans to adapt the technologies proposed by the winning projects' to be used in Ukraine. 

According to Michael Bartos, Team Leader, Strategy, at UNAIDS the competition has given a boost to some of the most cutting-edge responses to AIDS. “Reinforcing HIV prevention needs to be a constant part of everyday life – as natural as receiving a text message or opening a web browser has become,” said Mr Bartos. “Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation has inspired an outpouring of new and creative ways of setting the world on the path to zero new HIV infections," he added.

The projects were evaluated by a jury consisting of leading technology and HIV prevention experts including Chris Hughes, Executive Director of Jumo International, Inc and a co-founder of Facebook; Garth Japhet, CEO of Heartlines and member of the UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention Scientific Advisory Panel; Bill Roedy, former Chairman and Chief Executive, MTV Networks International; Debbie Rogers, Lead Strategist, Praekelt Foundation; Serge Dumont, Vice Chairman and Chairman Asia Pacific of Omnicom Group Inc. and Elena Pinchuk, founder and chair, Elena Pinchuk ANTIAIDS Foundation and member of UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention.

The ANTIAIDS Foundation was founded by Elena Pinchuk in 2003 and is the first and the only privately funded anti-AIDS charity in Ukraine. The foundation aims to operate on all levels – from national projects to direct support to individuals affected by the HIV epidemic. The Foundation is known for implementing innovative and interactive projects using web-technologies.

The UNAIDS High Level Commission on HIV Prevention, launched on 21 July 2010, leads a global advocacy campaign to build broad support for effective HIV prevention programmes. It is co-chaired by Professor Francoise Barré-Sinoussi, Nobel Laureate in Medicine for her role in the discovery of HIV, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and includes more than 15 world renowned leaders.