Born HIV Free: An international engagement campaign to end HIV

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria describes Born HIV Free as one of the most ambitious campaigns of its kind. Its aim, to mobilize public support for the work of the Global Fund and for a world where no child is born with HIV by 2015, is huge.

The Global Fund manages funding of US$ 19.3 billion for more than 572 programs to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 144 countries. Endorsed by governments and individuals as diverse as Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates and Bono, the Global Fund is currently saving 3,500 lives every day and 1.3 million lives every year.

Founded in 2002, backed by the United Nations after a call from Kofi Annan for the creation of a global fund, the organisation is unlike others in the United Nations family. When I met John Busch, Manager Online Communications at the Global Fund’s headquarters in Geneva, he told me that the organisation had a vision to use the web from the start.

And it shows: with a total staff of 600 people, The Global Fund employs a team of nine people dedicated to online communications. That’s 1.5% of the entire organisation. So when the organisation says this is one of the most ambitious campaigns of its kind, it’s no wonder that digital engagement is embedded deep into the strategy.

Integrating channels

It’s not all about digital. With films produced by Oscar-winning creative team H5 and featuring music by Amy Winehouse; a special video by actor and director Vincent Pèrez featuring Carla Bruni-Sarkozy; collector’s items produced by Tiffany & Co. and Jean-Paul Gaultier; a live concert by Paul McCartney in London’s in Hyde Park; and events around the world, the campaign is well resourced with assets around which to build engagement.

The campaign’s goal is for people to show support for their country’s contribution to the Global Fund by signing up on the campaign website. It’s important, because The Global Fund relies primarily on public funding, so it is not asking individuals to donate money. And in October this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair a meeting of donor countries in New York where they will pledge financial support to The Global Fund for the next three years.

Born HIV Free website

The Born HIV Free website features a call to sign up in support

Engagement with the campaign takes place across all major social media platforms: Twitter, supported by Twibbon; Facebook; and a dedicated Youtube channel which has received over 13.5 million views to date.

Spreading the word

To encourage sharing on social media and internet platforms, the website makes available downloadable spreadkits of campaign material: logos, banners, photos, videos and facts. Meanwhile, each social media platform utilised includes plenty of opportunities to share and link with other channels. Over 31,000 Facebook users have ‘liked’ the Youtube Channel.

Born HIV Free Youtube Channel

Born HIV Free Youtube Channel

With so many places to connect with the campaign, it would be possible that some Internet users might not make it back to the campaign website to sign up in support. To ensure that opportunities for support are not missed, a separate sign-up mechanism is included on the Youtube channel, whilst a Facebook Cause has already captured over 47,000 sign-ups directly from Facebook.

Multi-language engagement

The campaign’s reach is also strengthened by its use of multiple languages – the website is available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian; as is the Youtube channel which switches instantly between languages. Language-specific Facebook pages add thousands of followers in Spanish and French, and even the campaign spreadkit includes logos and banners in five languages.

This is a great example of a strategy that builds on a compelling cause with powerful creative assets both offline and online, doing so in a highly effective way through the integration of complimentary digital channels that truly engage and direct users to clear, measurable calls to action.


If you would like advice about integrating digital and emerging channels with offline and traditional communications to achieve clear goals, Creation Healthcare’s international team of consultants is able to help. Contact us now to find out how.

Daniel Ghinn

Daniel Ghinn is Editor of Healthcare Engagement Strategy and CEO of Creation Healthcare, the online market research consultancy for healthcare. He is a prolific writer and speaker on emerging trends healthcare engagement in the digital age.