Site Visit: Terrence Higgins Trust

The Aids charity set up the My HIV website to enable people with HIV to 'self-manage' their illness

Terrence Higgins Trust's My HIV site
Terrence Higgins Trust's My HIV site

Organisation: Terrence Higgins Trust
Agency: Reading Room
Spend: At least £50,000

The Terrence Higgins Trust was set up in 1982 to improve sexual health and reduce the spread of HIV. It is named after Terrence Higgins, one of the first people in the UK to die of Aids.

Development

The trust approached the digital design agency Reading Room with a brief in the autumn of 2009. It was then more than a year before the My HIV website went live. The idea was to create a website that would enable people with HIV to "self-manage" their illness by offering features such as an appointment reminder and prompts, by means of text messages, about when to take their medication.

Design and content

The design of the website can be tailored to the user's preferences. For example, the trust says some gay men prefer to receive information about HIV in an informal, colloquial way with more sexualised imagery, while the African community prefers information to be presented more formally with less sexualised imagery. Once a user has registered and stated their preferences, the videos and images used on the home page are altered to suit their requirements.

Special features

The site includes a device that enables users to track on a graph their viral load - the measurement of active HIV in the blood. They can also log notes and queries about their health, which each individual can take to their doctor. Users can upload videos and audio messages to share with others their experience of living with HIV.

The Terrence Higgins Trust says:

"We want to help people self-manage their HIV so we can free clinical staff to focus on meeting clinical need."

SCORE:

Navigation: 3
Accessibility: 3
Innovation: 4
Content: 5
Total: 15 out of 20

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