Free public health resource provides e-cards, SMS reminders for gay men to test for HIV
Vancouver, BC – Interactive marketing and branding agency BSTRO launched British Columbia’s first one-stop shop for gay men’s HIV testing information this week. The site, developed for Health Initiative for Men (HIM), bundles a host of HIV and STI testing resources together; those who visitwww.checkhimout.ca/testing are invited to learn their own “number” – that is, how many times per year they should be testing for HIV, based on their sexual risk.
The site includes a number of technological firsts: visitors can sign up for free automatic SMS and/or e-mail testing reminders, use a personal risk assessment tool, notify partners of potential STIs via SMS and/or customizable e-card, and even search a database of every STI and HIV testing clinic in the province (including by user-submitted reviews and ranking based on gay men’s service experiences).
“When it comes to health communication, BSTRO is leading the way,” said Jill Tracy, President and Chief Creative Officer at BSTRO. “We took our expertise in communicating complex public health messaging and created a user-friendly site. Guys can take a Cosmo-eqsue quiz to learn how often they should be testing for HIV, and they can send e-cards or text messages to let their partners know they should be getting tested. It’s a first in British Columbia; we’re very proud of the work.”
“We came to BSTRO with an aggressive timeline and a laundry list of objectives,” explained Jody Jollimore, Senior Program Manager with Health Initiative for Men. “There was no time for a learning curve – thankfully, they didn’t need one. They immediately understood our communication objectives and got to work, delivering one of the most comprehensive web resources we’ve ever seen.”
The website was produced in collaboration with Vancouver Coastal Health’s STOP HIV project, and will be accompanied by a print and online advertising campaign in Vancouver, also created by BSTRO.