#TreatmentForAll, A new social media campaign for World AIDS Day, was launched today by leading social media technology company, Influential. The campaign calls on everyone around the world to demand that governments find a way to provide the resources to allow treatment for all those infected and offer the resources to stop the factors that are contributing to the spread of HIV and AIDS-related illnesses.
The campaign launched with the premiere of a Facebook documentary at a special screening at Facebook's New York City office and features Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ricki Lake, as well as online social influencers Wesley Stromberg, Megan Nicole, Melvin Gregg, and Sammy Wilkinson. The film shows them traveling to Malawi to talk to those affected by HIV/AIDS in order to put a face to the disease and provide the human reasons why we need to fight this devastating disease. The documentary provides insights into what those affected by HIV/AIDS lives are like and the struggles they face without the proper treatment. Also featured are interviews with U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, and President Bill Clinton. The campaign is also receiving support from social media superstars Christian and Crawford Collins, as well as Brent Rivera. Together, the 7 primary influencers that are participating have amassed over 80 million followers that will hear about this new social campaign and about how they can help stop the spread of HIV and AIDS.
To deepen the engagement levels and user-generated content, Influential also launched an interactive microsite, www.hashtagforall.com, where influencers and their fans could create customized #TreatmentForAll photos that could then be shared through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The social push that was achieved through Influential's strategy increases the chances that those involved in fighting HIV and AIDS would be able to receive more awareness and support.
"We're honored to have the opportunity to use our amazing network of influencers and technology to power the #TreatmentForAll campaign," said Influential CEO, Ryan Detert. "Social media has the ability to spread a message quicker than any other form of media that exists today and for that reason, we feel that its only right to use our resources to make a difference."
The inspiration for the social media campaign came from the recent WHO HIV/AIDS recommendations that stated that "patients should be put on an antiretroviral therapy of three drugs immediately after diagnosis" and "everyone at risk of becoming infected should be offered protective doses of similar drugs." This is viewed as one of the best solutions for shutting this disease down. While resources and financial assistance have been procured from numerous countries, including the United States and President Obama's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), there is significantly more that needs to be done to make treatment equally accessible to those in need.
As President Bill Clinton said in the documentary, "If you want to save lives and stop an epidemic that has claimed the lives of tens of millions of people, treatment is the best prevention. Now we're on the verge, for the first time ever... of being able to have one pill to treat people with HIV and AIDS that costs less than $100. It's never happened before. Once this does happen, the money that has already been appropriated will go exponentially further."
Join me today, on World AIDS Day, in sharing this social campaign for HIV/AIDS treatment for all. Together, we can stop this disease for good.