Ideas for observing National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day


National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD) is held annually on March 10 and throughout the month of March. This year marks the 12th observance of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

NWGHAAD mobilizes partners, supporters, and communities across the United States to share information and empower women and girls to learn the importance of HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment.

Organizing an activity in your community is simple! We have downloadable resources like posters and other graphics to support you! Check out information on how to plan walks, HIV testing, school assemblies, and more. Use these ideas as a starting point, or come up with an idea of your own. Share all events on social media using the #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense hashtags. Let's go!

Event ideas

Join/host a walk

Get your community or campus together for a walk event to promote HIV prevention.

What you'll need: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Walk Toolkit, volunteers, sign-up sheets, participants, a location

Talk to your local parks department or campus activities department to find out about organizing a walk event and what permits (if any) you will need. Next, secure the needed permits and start recruiting potential participants. Encourage participants to ask friends, family members, and schoolmates to support them during the event. Ask people who will not be walking to volunteer at the event. They can help cheer on participants, hand out water, and provide other support. Then, put on your red ribbon and take to the streets!

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Art gallery or art show

Organize an event that features art focused on HIV and AIDS education and prevention among women and girls.

What you'll need: a venue, artists

This is a great activity for students, so if you're not part of an academic organization, consider partnering with a high school or college for this type of event. Encourage artists on campus and in the community to create artwork focused on HIV and AIDS. Preview the artwork before the show, and ask several artists to discuss their artwork at the show. They can discuss why they were inspired to create the piece and how HIV and AIDS has affected them or their community.

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Candlelight vigil

Hold a candlelight vigil to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to honor women and girls who have been impacted by the disease.

What you'll need: a venue, candles, lighters, participants

Gather the community to honor the local women and girls who have been impacted by HIV and AIDS. A large outdoor location like a school football field would work well. Light your candles and take a moment of silence while they burn. Your event can also include a speaker to help start a discussion about how to take action against HIV and AIDS or to share their personal story. You can also invite local artists to share their work related to HIV and AIDS, or ask artists to create something for the event.

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Documentary night

Hold a screening of a documentary that highlights the reality of HIV and AIDS.

What you'll need: a venue, a copy of a film about HIV and AIDS, a discussion guide, a DVD player, a TV/projector, handouts

Ask local movie theaters, independent theaters, community centers, or schools to donate space/equipment for your event and select a movie. Engage the audience in a discussion about HIV and AIDS after the screening. Be prepared with some discussion questions to help the audience reflect on how the movie affected them, changed their thinking, or educated them. It is a good idea to engage a health care provider from your local hospital or health clinic to help lead the discussion.

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HIV testing

Offer free HIV testing at your clinic, college, or other location.

If your organization offers HIV testing, consider waiving the fee in honor of NWGHAAD and offering counseling. If you already offer free testing, you could offer extended hours or other giveaways in support of NWGHAAD. If you don't offer HIV testing, partner with someone in your community who does. Enter your zip code into the HIV testing location finder.

Also, consider a "Test Together" day where women can bring a friend and get tested for HIV on the same day. If you are part of the health care field, you could also offer education and training about HIV and AIDS for health care professionals who work with women and girls.

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Interactive school assembly

Partner with a local school to hold an interactive assembly or a program for a health class in honor of NWGHAAD.

What you'll need: a partner school

This is a great way to share knowledge with young women and girls about HIV and AIDS. Listed below are a few options for your event:

  • Screen a movie about HIV and AIDS, and hold a discussion with students after the film.
  • Ask students to create a poster, tabletop display, or other artwork that focuses on topics related to how HIV and AIDS affect women and girls. Display designs during the assembly for other students to view and learn from.
  • Play a game. Look online for interactive games that teach teenage students about how HIV is spread and the importance of protection/prevention.
  • Provide educational materials on HIV and AIDS and how it affects women and girls in particular, or have a guest speaker discuss how HIV and AIDS have affected her life and ways to prevent the disease.

Talk to administrators about the best type of interactive assembly. You can even adapt other ideas in this document for your school assembly.

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Open mic, comedy act, or poetry slam

Invite local artists to share their work and discuss in a safe space how HIV and AIDS affects women and girls.

What you'll need: a venue, rules (act length, topic, etc.), a sign-up sheet, an emcee, judges (if appropriate)

Check with local schools or community centers when looking for venues. Invite a female emcee and judges. Encourage creativity!

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Restroom campaign

Everyone uses the restroom, so here's an opportunity to provide women and girls with important reading material on HIV and AIDS for their bathroom breaks. This is an easy way to educate women and girls in your community about HIV prevention and the impact of HIV and AIDS.

What you'll need: paper for flyers, a printer, some creativity

You can go to the Resources page and print the NWGHAAD poster, or you can create your own. If you want to start from scratch, design a flyer that will grab the reader's attention. Try coming up with a catchy title, or use this year's theme! Next, include some statistics about HIV and AIDS and women. You can find some statistics in the NWGHAAD fact sheet or use the tips listed on the What every woman needs to know about HIV and AIDS or What every girl needs to know about HIV and AIDS pages. You may also want to include a picture of women and girls, the NWGHAAD logo, or a picture of a red ribbon; try to choose something that will resonate with your community. Finally, include information about HIV services in your area, such as where people can find free testing locations. After obtaining permission from each facility, post flyers in women's restrooms on college campuses, in restaurants, local businesses, bars, high schools, and state agencies, such as welfare or unemployment offices.

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Online event ideas

You can use social media to raise awareness about how women and girls are impacted by HIV and AIDS. Social media networks provide a great space for people to share their experiences, encourage discussion, and educate one another. Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, or blogs to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in honor of NWGHAAD March 10 or anytime throughout the month of March. For more information, check out the social media toolkit.

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Other ways to spread the word online

LinkedIn

Use your LinkedIn status update to share an article about HIV and AIDS, your NWGHAAD event, or the NWGHAAD website on your profile, company, or group page.

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Flickr or Instagram

Take pictures of what you are doing in honor of NWGHAAD and tag them with #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense. Share the photos with others to help raise awareness. You can also share these photos on Facebook, Twitter, or any other photo-sharing website.

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YouTube

Take videos of what you or your organization are doing in honor of NWGHAAD. Post your videos to YouTube. Share your own videos through Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. Tag them with #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense and include www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad in the video description to help your viewers find more information.

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Podcast

Record a podcast discussing HIV and AIDS to educate others and inspire people to take action. Share the podcast on your organization's website, Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site.

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Write and publish a blog post

Write a blog post about NWGHAAD or any other topic that focuses on HIV and AIDS among women and girls in honor of NWGHAAD. The blog post could be about reducing stigma, increasing awareness, education, prevention, or other relevant topics. Share your blog on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site.

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Create a video blog

Create a video blog sharing how HIV and AIDS has affected you or how you are raising awareness of the disease. You can also use your blog to feature your experience at a NWGHAAD event. Share your videos on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any other social networking site.

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Host a webinar

Present a free webinar that discusses some of the myths and facts about HIV and AIDS, or provide general information about the disease. Encourage discussion and inspire participants to take action. Promote the webinar on your organization's website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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Share local stats on HIV and AIDS among women and girls in your community

Create a data visualization graphic on HIV and AIDS with a focus on a statistic or facts relevant to your community or state (for state-based information, see www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/stateprofiles/usmap.htm). Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest to help raise awareness.

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Tips for building partnerships for National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Consider forming partnerships with organizations in your community to help support your NWGHAAD events and activities. Developing partnerships allows you to:

  • Share resources
  • Reduce community stigma of HIV and AIDS
  • Increase visibility of your event/activity and your organization
  • Generate more media attention for HIV and AIDS among women and girls
  • Reach more women and girls in your community
  • Have a greater impact on women's and girls' health

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Who should I reach out to?

You may want to reach out to the following types of organizations for the observance:

  • Women- and family-focused support groups
  • Churches and faith-based institutions
  • Colleges and universities, especially if they have medical schools or public health programs
  • Health centers, clinics, and hospitals
  • Businesses, including fitness centers, drug stores, and grocery stores
  • Nonprofit organizations, such as local sorority chapters or local fraternity chapters
  • National affiliate groups and local chapters, such as La Raza, Jack and Jill, Urban League, and medical groups
  • Private organizations

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What should I ask organizations to do?

Organizations often look for causes to support their community and can:

  • Help organize and staff an event
  • Provide a venue to hold the event
  • Donate materials, including HIV and AIDS information or supplies for women and girls
  • Offer volunteers, including health care professionals to administer screenings, or guest speakers who have knowledge of HIV and AIDS or work to educate women and girls
  • Promote the event by displaying posters, posting information to their websites, or sending information through their social media channels
  • Issue press releases and conduct other media outreach

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How do I find partner organizations in my community?

Go online and do research. A quick online search can provide you with a list of relevant organizations in your community working to address HIV and AIDS and empower women and girls. Talk with your coworkers to see whether they have contacts outside your organization who may be interested.

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How do I reach out to other organizations?

Once you have done research and found organizations in your community that you want to partner with for NWGHAAD, it's time to contact them. Find contact information for each organization on its website and send a letter or email explaining why the organization should be a part of the nationwide observance. Follow up with a phone call.

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Sample email

Dear [Insert contact name],

Today, about one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women 13 or older. [Insert the number of women and girls impacted in your city, county, or state] of those women and girls live right here in [insert your city, county, or state]. On [insert date], [insert your organization's name] will hold a National Women and Girls HIV and AIDS Awareness Day event to bring attention to this important public health issue. Because of your [insert the focus of the organization: influence among women and girls, efforts to address HIV and AIDS, etc.] in the community, we believe [insert name of the organization you are reaching out to] can help us in our effort.

[Insert one or two sentences about your event and how the organization you are reaching out to can participate—e.g., helping you promote it or donating supplies or giveaways.]

I believe that a partnership between [insert your organization] and [insert the name of the organization you are reaching out to] would be a powerful combination and help prevent HIV and AIDS among women and girls in [insert your city, county, or state].

Please let me know when we can set up a time to discuss this potential partnership further. In the meantime, to learn more about National Women and Girls HIV and AIDS Awareness Day, please visit www.womenshealth.gov/nwghaad. To learn more about [insert your organization], please visit [insert your website].

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[insert your name]

If the organization expresses interest, set up a call or face-to-face meeting to discuss a potential partnership. Make sure you have ideas already thought out and ready to present. Be prepared to offer background information about your organization and National Women and Girls HIV and AIDS Awareness Day. The best type of partnership helps both groups, so think about what you and your organization can offer, too.

Once an agreement has been made, keep in touch on a regular basis as the event approaches. Arrange monthly, weekly, and daily phone calls, emails, and meetings to make sure all tasks are completed and everyone is on the same page.

Once the event is over, thank your partners and keep the door open for future partnership opportunities.

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Promoting your event

Once you have selected a venue, date, and time, you can start spreading the word about your activity. Here are a few suggestions for getting the word out about your NWGHAAD event. Try to start promoting your event four weeks in advance if possible.

  • Social Media. Post a series of messages on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to introduce the event, get people excited about it, and provide updates when necessary. You can also send a Facebook event invitation to Facebook friends or send a series of emails, beginning with a save-the-date message, to contacts or listservs. Consider using these outlets to show pictures, video, and comments about the event after it is done. Be sure to tag your social media posts with the #NWGHAAD and #BestDefense hashtags.
  • Flyers. Display flyers around your community in community centers, places of worship, coffee shops, and other places with high visibility to promote your event.
  • Website. Dedicate a website or a section of your website to the event. Include the date, time, location, directions, and other essential information.
  • Radio. Contact the public service director at your local radio stations that target the same audience as your event. Ask them to share information about your event. You will need to provide them with a media advisory.
  • Community Sponsors. Reach out to local businesses, clinics, hospitals, and schools to help promote and support your event.

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Resources from our federal partners

Explore other resources and websites from some of our federal partners:

Connect with our federal partners and national supporters. See who else is involved in National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

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