photo credit: worldbank photo collection
The Ask: With GHS support, amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, launched a new initiative designed to reduce rates of HIV infection in men who have sex with men (MSM) in resource-poor countries. The initiative empowers grassroots service organizations and advocates for more effective treatment policies. amfAR then asked GHS to help develop and disseminate a detailed report to raise broad awareness of the issue.
The Approach: GHS and amfAR used GHS’ pre-existing partnership with Harvard University to enlist a research team of students in the health policy program. Working with GHS editors, these students surveyed international policymakers, government officials and advocates. They also carefully analyzed reports submitted to the United Nations by individual countries to determine the extent to which MSM had access to HIV treatment and prevention programs. Their final report included a new epidemiological study by established HIV researchers. GHS then designed a comprehensive communications strategy to publicize the Amfar MSM report, attract global media coverage, and promote discussion of the issue among policymakers, donors, and activists. GHS worked with its client to develop press materials and a “virtual press room,” secure international spokespeople, organize site visits, capture video footage, and conduct media outreach to print, wire, broadcast and new media outlets.
The Outcome: The final MSM report was released at the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Global media outreach by GHS and Amfar resulted in significant top-tier international media coverage that positioned the report and the initiative as an authoritative resource. These efforts also helped raise international awareness of a major threat to public health, and garnered new support for the initiative. GHS continues to provide strategic advice to the initiative (http://www.amfar.org/msm/) on an ongoing basis.