ucsd antiviral research center: hiv awareness campaign + website

It’s been more than 30 years since AIDS was discovered, and there’s still no cure. That’s why the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the National Institute of Health are teaming up for the Lead the Way campaign. It’s the first-of-its- kind study that aims to stop the spread of HIV, but also raises awareness about HIV and decrease the stigma of HIV testing. The study encourages everyone in two San Diego zip codes (92103 and 92104) to participate through door-to-door testing or by visiting the test center. The Lead the Way campaign needed a unique, fresh and eye-catching approach to tackle this sensitive issue.

our angle

We developed a simple yet powerful concept as the symbol for the campaign: a blue-band-aid to signify those who took the step of getting tested. Using this as the centerpiece, we created a brand and campaign that is bold, optimistic, personal and inspiring. We employed bright colors and clean, modern lines for the design, developed advertising featuring local celebrities for billboards, bus shelters and the website. Social Media and PR events will carry the campaign through the remaining 8-month period.

As part of the Lead the Way campaign, thinkPARALLAX created the mobile friendly site which featured the “role models” as the main focus on the home page scroller, immediately engaging the user and leading them into the site. The site was created to be informational about the “get tested” campaign as well as allow them to schedule an appointment as well as fill out a survey to help UCSD get one step closer to putting an end to HIV.

Visit the Lead the Way Site: www.leadthewaysd.org



The creative look and concept behind the campaign helped engage the target audience and achieve the desired impact: increased HIV testing. Some of the most important measures of effectiveness to date include:

» 6244+ tests completed since July, 2013*

» 1907 of those test are Lead the Way eligible*

» 98% of HIV tests done at the storefront vs. door-to-door van

» 52% of participants from 92103 (48% from 92104)

» 17% of participants female

» 39% of participants between ages of 21-30

» 10% of participants have never been tested for HIV before testing with Lead the Way

Top 3 reasons to get tested:
1) To know my status
2) If I thought I were at risk for HIV infection
3) If my doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider recommended getting tested
*based on data from July, 2013


“With the stigma surrounding HIV, we knew it wouldn’t be easy raising awareness about the importance of HIV testing. We went to thinkPARALLAX with a concept, and they provided us with a logo, brand, and graphic style that has quickly become recognizable to our target audiences in the community. The design services they provided us are the foundation for all we do to engage the community with our outreach.”

Joshua P. Romero
Senior Public Information Officer