A proudly South African solution
Shout-It-Now was founded in 2007 by a group of IT and marketing experts from the U.S. and social scientists from South Africa who wanted to help address issues that affect young people, such as HIV and AIDS.
Together we developed a revolutionary solution to HIV testing taking the very best from social science and technology - along with the latest health research - to help South African youths take charge of their own wellness. When we started Shout-It-Now, one of the biggest challenges in South Africa was educating the youth about HIV and AIDS, and encouraging them to know their status. We committed to tackling this issue, and identified three key tools to leverage:
- Technology, which enabled us to measure attitudes, perceptions and behaviour of our youth and also gave us the ability to measure the impact of our programmes. Through innovations such as fingerprint identification we could maintain 100% client confidentiality and anonymity.
- Celebrities could help us reach teens because they easily attract our youth’s attention and are a perceived credible source of information for our target market. We leveraged this reality by working with celebrities to talk to our youth about HIV testing, treatment and prevention.
- Community-based marketing would give youths a legitimate reason to be part of our programmes without being stigmatised or feeling embarrassed.
Using these three key pillars, we developed revolutionary HIV/AIDS education programmes, featuring MTV style content, that were cool, funky, engaging and thought-provoking, helping youth to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Our meaningful, content-driven and technology-based education programmes were delivered in partnership with provincial and local government and community-based organisations.
Within two years of launching our voluntary HIV Testing and Counseling (HTC) programme in schools and communities we had tested more than 46,000 youth for HIV. After participating in the education programme, 96.95% of participants agreed to be tested on the same day vs. 34,4% who were willing to undergo HIV testing prior to our programme.
We were the first South African organisation to deploy technology-based solutions to social issues on a large scale, and technology continues to drive our competitive advantage in this arena.
While HIV and AIDS remain the biggest social issue facing the youth of South Africa, the challenge continues to evolve and also affects adults. We found that 90% of our clients could answer the top 10 questions about HIV and AIDS with ease, and 91.7% of respondents interviewed in a study believe that they should be tested at least once every 3 months. For this reason, in 2011 we shifted our focus from education to providing what is most needed and asked for by our clients – free, fast and friendly HIV testing and links to care for both youth and adults through a network of mobile testing tents operational in the Ekurhuleni metropole.
Today, in an attempt to better address the 90-90-90 goals adopted worldwide, we are piloting an innovative new approach to testing and extending our service to also include immediate, convenient on-site initiation onto Antiretroviral Treatment for eligible clients. A client-centric approach is at the heart of what we do.
By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.”