To create demand for HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) control services in Nigeria, JSI under the Total Market Approach (TMA) project for HIV prevention is implementing a behavior change campaign social media platform called Keep it Safe and Sweet (KISS). Through KISS activities on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, approximately 1 million people received HIV and STI control messages, and over 500 (mainly key populations [KPs]) related to care at one-stop shops and other health facilities across Nigeria.
However, as with most social media platforms, only people who followed the campaign’s KISS social media IDs and closed group WhatsApp platform KPs primarily received demand creation messages. Although the project uses paid promotions to reach people beyond those who follow KISS handles, those people must have an account on the specific social media platform used for the promotion to see the posts. Additionally, messages deployed through KISS social media platforms are summarized, meaning that opportunities to assess comprehensive HIV prevention and control information on the spot are limited unless an individual engage further with the team via private chat.
To circumvent these limitations and extend the reach of the campaign, 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 country could access comprehensive information on HIV products and services,” explained Dr. Olawale Durosinmi-Etti, party leader for the TMA project. in Nigeria. The JSI team put together a creative brief that detailed the content and layout of the website, considering ease of navigation, simplicity of language, and general appeal, especially to KPs.
The website was launched on February 21, 2022. On the homepage, viewers can access comprehensive information on different HIV control methods and products, one-stop-shop addresses, helpline number national HIV response, WhatsApp messaging plug-in for engagement, and much more. The website also hosts the national directory of public and private HIV service facilities in Nigeria, allowing people across the country to easily access service points in their localities. A PC peer educator in Akwa Ibom said, “I have never seen a website like this before that takes care of PC needs; I’ve seen websites of international partners… but this is clearly a website loved by members… the image quality is nice, I love the articles, those HIV prevention messages and all that…”
The website has been a major boost to the project’s demand generation efforts. Using the website URL as the homepage, the project promotes content on Google AdWords to increase demand for HIV-related services in Nigeria. A series of messages – about, for example, HIV self-testing kits – deployed through Google AdWords were displayed on 6,879 websites visited by Nigerians. The website URL is also embedded in demand-related posts deployed across all KISS social and digital media platforms – WhatsApp, WhatsApp TV, Instagram, Instagram Live, Twitter, Nairaland, Bellanaija Blog and short messaging. This has increased the number of HIV prevention messages Nigerians have access to, as well as opportunities for the project to engage and connect more audiences to care.
While continuing to be felt, the gains made so far on the website further demonstrate the effectiveness of digital technologies in improving demand generation for HIV services. The TMA Project and its partners will continue to use the KISS website and other virtual platforms to facilitate behavior change that will help Nigeria achieve 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 subgrant from Heartland Alliance Limited by Guarantee, as part of the Action Project and community-based HIV services response of key populations.