CASE STUDY: Get Tested Coachella Valley

The Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign got underway in March 2012, when Marsha Martin, an internationally-recognized consultant on HIV prevention, suggested that Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.), a nationally-respected AIDS Service Organization in Palm Springs, lead an HIV testing campaign in the Coachella Valley region of California.

For more than 30 years, D.A.P. had been committed to not only treating HIV, but to ending the epidemic once and for all. A recently-published international study, published in the journal Science, had announced an exciting, breakthrough finding: when individuals who are HIV positive take the appropriate medications, they become 96% less infectious. That meant that if everyone in the Coachella Valley got tested, and anyone who tested positive got onto medication, the region could become the first place anywhere to stop the spread of HIV.

Susan Unger served as Project Director of Get Tested Coachella Valley, a groundbreaking three-year, $5 million public health initiative of Desert AIDS Project to dramatically reduce the spread of HIV by:

• Making voluntary HIV testing standard and routine medical practice

• Making HIV testing and care available to everyone, including those who don’t see healthcare providers on a regular basis

• Addressing fear, judgment and stigma by educating and motivating individuals, whether HIV-negative or -positive, to protect their own health and prevent others from becoming infected

As Project Director, Susan designed, launched and managed every aspect of the initiative, from research and planning, through implementation, evaluation, and reporting, including conceptualizing and producing a region-wide, bilingual communications campaign.

Keys to Susan’s successful management of the initiative included: structuring the multi-year project into a series of phases; building a supportive coalition of more than 100 community partners; implementing an effective data collection and tracking process; and, ensuring that the needed infrastructure was put in place to sustain the program post-campaign.

For the complete story of the Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, click here: VIEW THE RESULTS RECAP REPORT