Saving Lives with Music

Building on the experience of developing prior community mobilization efforts for the HIV response, ICAP appreciated the potential power of music to reach people far and wide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In one of its first efforts focused on the COVID-19 response in sub Saharan Africa, ICAP reached out to the beloved Zimbabwean poet and musician, Albert Nyathi, and commissioned a song about how people can protect themselves from infection by social distancing, frequent hand washing, and wearing masks.

With social distancing measures already in place in Zimbabwe’s capital where Nyathi and his fellow musician Dereck Mpofu lived, they were able to organize a group of local musicians to individually lay down tracks of lush instrumentation and soaring vocals without having to bring people together physically.  The separate tracks were then mixed to create Apart/Together—We Stand Strong Against COVID.

Produced with incredible speed, the song—which contains lyrics in English, Shona, and Ndebele, the three major languages of Zimbabwe—was already on the airwaves by late April, launched through the artists’ social media and widely promoted online and through media coverage. Hoping that his music would empower people to protect their health, Nyathi said, “This song celebrates the power of the community to overcome a disease that is pushing us apart while it informs listeners of the steps they can take to protect themselves and their community from COVID-19.”

ICAP released “Apart/Together” accompanied by a video “slideshow” of ICAP-supported activities to respond to the pandemic.  These images were captured by young people living with HIV/AIDS who participate in an ICAP photography workshop in Kenya that provides training and support.

“This song celebrates the power of the community to overcome a disease that is pushing us apart while also serving to inform listeners of the steps they can take to protect themselves and their community from COVID-19.”

Albert Nyathi,
composer/performer

In Myanmar, ICAP tapped popstars Phyu Phyu Kyaw Thein and Ar-T to produce I Will Move On to increase awareness of how medication can enable an HIV positive person to suppress and maintain their viral load at a point where it is no longer detectable, and importantly, they are no longer able to transmit HIV.

The message of their song is simple but essential: Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U.  For people living with HIV, the song serves as a reminder that if they are consistent with their treatment, they can have long, healthy lives–and can prevent transmission to their intimate partners.  The song and accompanying promotional activities join in the global “Undetectable = Untransmittable” (“U=U”) campaign, an effort to raise awareness about the efficacy of HIV medications for preventing sexual transmission of HIV spearheaded by the Prevention Access Campaign since 2016.

Funding: Zimbabwe Song: Bing Zhao; Myanmar: U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

 

 

CREATIVE

INSPIRING

INNOVATIVE

Spreading the Word About PrEP

Every year an additional 1.7 million people around the world are infected with HIV. As part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy to stem this tide, ICAP has leveraged the creative power of communications media to disseminate information that can help people at risk of HIV infection avoid getting infected.

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Spreading the Word About PrEP

Every year an additional 1.7 million people around the world are infected with HIV. As part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy to stem this tide, ICAP has leveraged the creative power of communications media to disseminate information that can help people at risk of HIV infection avoid getting infected.

Research has demonstrated that stories from peers can be an effective approach to reach people in targeted populations with lifesaving public health messaging.  That motivated ICAP to produce a series of short videos to show how pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has helped individuals stay HIV negative. PrEP regimens have been shown to be highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use when taken regularly as prescribed.

ICAP’s innovative PrEP video messaging focuses on potential PrEP candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, and Nigeria – three countries where ICAP has been working actively to support the use of PrEP among vulnerable sectors of the society.  The videos, each a compelling direct-to-camera story about the individual’s experience with PrEP and their motivation for using PrEP, destigmatize its use and reinforce the idea that PrEP is for anyone who is at risk.

The videos are part of an innovative toolkit designed to help health care professionals provide PrEP to appropriate candidates in a safe and effective manner. In addition to the videos, the toolkit includes training materials, job aids, and monitoring and evaluation tools. The package, which is free of charge, is adaptable to specific contexts and available in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.


FUNDED BY:  U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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