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G r a n t Wa t c h

Gr antWatch Re p ort

Leveraging The Power Of The Media To Combat HIV/AIDS

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s partnerships with media and others to help educate the public about HIV/AIDS, here and abroad.

by Matt James, Tina Hoff, Julia Davis, and Robert Graham

ABSTRACT: Improving HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, especially those focused on young people, is a key challenge in the fight against the pandemic. Since the mid-1990s the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has partnered with U.S.-based media companies on compre- hensive HIV/AIDS campaigns. This paper outlines the unique public education model that it is using, and how Kaiser is expanding this work globally by working with some of the largest media companies in the world to undertake new initiatives in Russia and India.

h e g r e at p u b l i c h e a lt h chal- lenge of our generation is HIV/AIDS. It has prompted an unprecedented re- sponse from governments, international orga- nizations, and the private sector. Yet even as more attention and resources are being di- rected at prevention and treatment programs, need continues to exceed the efforts being made. Concerned organizations must develop creative strategies to leverage resources to have the greatest impact. One way in which the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has been working to help stem the spread of HIV/ AIDS is by engaging media companies from around the world as active participants in public education efforts to which they devote communications expertise, creativity, and, most importantly, media assets, such as ad- vertising space and other programming and editorial material. Kaiser, an operating foun- dation, not a traditional grant-making foun- dation, provides media expertise as well as T

funding, as do its media company partners.

International Efforts

Mass media are playing a growing role in the lives of people around the world. In China nearly all households had access to television in 1999, and more than 900 million Chinese are regular viewers of Chinese state television CCTV.1 India has eighty-six million house- holds with televisions, which means that 43 percent of the country’s population views TV.2 In South Africa more than 90 percent of youth (in a 2001 survey) watch TV or listen to the ra- dio, even in rural areas. In the United States, Kaiser’s national surveys have confirmed that the media are one of the most important re- sources for Americans on HIV/AIDS—the me- dia are named more often than health care pro- viders or schools.3

The Kaiser Family Foundation conceptual- ized and co-organized with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) the first-ever meeting on HIV/AIDS, with the UN Secretary General and chief executive offi-

Matt James (mjames@kff.org) is senior vice president for media and public education and executive director of kaisernetwork.org at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) in Menlo Park, California. Tina Hoff is a vice president and director of entertainment media partnerships; Julia Davis, associate director of U.S. programs, entertainment media partnerships; and Rob Graham, a communications office , at the KFF.

854 DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.24.3.854 ©2005 Project HOPE–The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

May/June 2005

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