Every day 400 people are newly infected with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Unlike other parts of the World, the epidemic is still on rise in this region.
UNESCO joined UNAIDS to prepare and launch the first regional HIV testing campaign to draw public attention to the issue, raise awareness about HIV, encourage people to know their HIV status and promote solidarity with people living with HIV.
“Our goal is to overcome prejudices related to HIV testing and explain to as many people as possible that doing an HIV test, learning HIV status and starting treatment, if necessary, is an important step to save lives – of your own, your partner, your future children,” says Vera Brezhneva, a popular singer, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, the face of the campaign.
On November 25 the campaign was launched in Minsk, Belarus, where local celebrities – TV presenters Svetlana Borovskaya and Dmitry Bochkov and a famous tennis player Max Mirny joined the campaign.
Outdoor billboards with Belarus celebrities calling people to get tested for HIV appeared in all big cities of Belarus including the capital city Minsk.
On November 26, the campaign was launched in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova and on November 27 – in Kiev, Ukraine.
Earlier in November, the campaign was also launched in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dushanbe, Tajikistan and Yerevan, Armenia.
On December 1, the campaign started in Russia.
One of the most popular in EECA social network services Odnoklassniki hosts the campaign public ok.ru/TEST. It was heavily promoted on the World AIDS Day when 48 million daily visitors of ok.ru were invited to a life video-chat with the campaign organizers.
Vera Brezhneva and her friends, popular singers, performed and together with UNAIDS and UNESCO colleagues, people living with HIV and national experts discussed why it is important to know ones’ HIV status, why it concerns everyone and how everybody can support people living with HIV.
More than 1.5 million social media users get acquainted with the materials of the company at ok.ru/TEST. About 48 thousand people became regular subscribers of the community: they are actively involved in the discussions; share their opinions and show their support for people living with HIV. More than 435,000 people watched live broadcast of the video-chat.
Thousands of the campaign posters will be further disseminated in schools, clinics, HIV testing sites in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and other countries.
National governments, ministries of health in EECA countries supported the campaign and urged national and private TV, radio and printed media to promote the campaign. It is expected that millions of young people, women and men in Eastern Europe and Central Asia will see the campaign video reel at social media, YouTube, national and local TV.