There are 290,000 HIV-positive people living in Ukraine, but half of them are not aware of their status. In fact, every 160th Ukrainian is infected. This horrifying statistics brings the country into the lead with the rate of HIV spread in Eastern Europe.
Due to complete lack of sex education in secondary schools, Ukrainian teenagers are the main HIV infection risk group. According to statistics, boys have the first sex at the age of 14, and girls at the age of 15. But only a quarter of teenagers aged 14-19 is aware of HIV transmissions, not to mention the recognition of the need of periodical tests for the presence of virus in the blood.
According to UNICEF research, teenagers do not attend clinics for HIV tests because they are convinced in the following: «HIV does not concern me or my friends. This is the problem of drug addicts, prostitutes and other “unsuccessful” people». Teens do not associate HIV infection risks with «usual» unprotected sex with people they know.
- To reach a very narrow segment of the «risk group» — 15-19 years old teenagers from 4 most infected regions of Ukraine that were also united by «disadvantaged» social factors: studies at the vocational schools, staying in boarding schools, orphanages or correctional facilities for teenagers.
- To engage the target group as much as possible into the HIV problem (which the TA is not interested in) in order to motivate it to visit specialized clinics for HIV tests.
We went through creation of a controversial interactive project and its selective publication in the media channels popular among teenagers.
On the website svidanie.org.ua we addressed the life experience of teenagers and destroyed an established myth that «HIV does not concern me». The game-like scenario is presented on the site in the form of a date with the character of the opposite sex and the subsequent virtual sex without a condom, which the user himself or herself agrees to.
As it often happens in life of our target group, a virtual partner asks for an e-mail address or mobile number for the next meeting after casual sex. When the user gives his or her personal contact information, it activates the video clip in which a virtual partner writes a message that will be physically and instantly delivered to a cell phone or e-mail of the user. Such message reminds about the risks of sex without a condom, and appeals to HIV tests in one of the nearby clinics. Also, the message contains a link to a website where the user can select another clinic or read about HIV.
In order to make sure that this mechanic is effective, we ran focus groups before the project launch for the representatives of the target group, that proved effectiveness of the future campaign.