Single Source Procurement: HIV/STD and Violence Prevention using Social Media

Pursuant to New York State Finance Law § 163.10(b), The New York State Department of Health is presenting the following summary of relevant circumstances, and material and substantial reasons why a competitive procurement was not feasible.

For the period of 7/1/2014 – 1/31/2015, the AIDS Institute funded the NYC LGBT Anti Violence Project (AVP) for a pilot project to fund a social media campaign targeting Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) who use dating websites and apps. The demonstration program was hugely successful and the results were remarkable with 860,000 impressions and thousands of clicks on each website per month for those that provided utilization data. Regarding AVP's own website data:

  • In the six month contract period, AVP's Online Reporting Violence Form went from being the 23rd most viewed page (376 views) on its website to the second most viewed page (5,511 views) – only second to AVP's homepage.
  • In the six month contract period, AVP's Online Dating Safety Tips page went from being the 41st most viewed page (191 views) on its website to the 6th most viewed page (1,390 views). It should be noted that more apps chose to run AVP's Safety Tips banner ad only during the last three months of the campaign.
  • The six month ad campaign dramatically increased the number of survivors of pick-up violence who called AVP by 300%.
  • AVP's campaign received notable media attention including an article in BuzzFeed, and an OpEd by AVP's Executive Director, in the Huffington Post.
  • Some of the sites were willing to give AVP free or upgraded impressions, or advertise in their newsletters and showed a keener understanding of the purpose of the campaign and willingness to partner in this work.

The AIDS Institute is proposing to extend this pilot program contract for an additional 13 months. With more and more people finding partners online, AVP is proposing to be on the front line of reaching people where they are meeting others for sex. For the next contract period, AVP will limit its ad campaign to the six most receptive and productive sites including Grindr, Daddyhunt, Mister, VGL, Growlr and Rentboy and advertise on one site each month. Each website would have the option of which ad campaign, "Reporting Violence Helps to End Violence" or "For a Safe Time Call", they would like to run or have the option of running both simultaneously if they desire.

AVP would then highlight each of those different relationships each month – through a featured blog post and through engagement with that specific site on social media, to further raise the visibility of the campaign and highlight the social responsibility of each of the dating apps in a way that puts their company in a good light. This would involve increased sharing of campaign images on social media, doing an enhanced public awareness/campaign around this and creating greater awareness within AVP Client Services and Community Organizing staff through related printed material. By isolating sites by each month, AVP would be able to determine which of the sites are most effective in reaching gay men and MSM and deepen the agency's relationship, allowing AVP to have a more coordinated and farther reaching robust campaign around the entire project.

NYC AVP is unique in that its primary goals and objectives are preventing and stopping violence by or against LGBT individuals. Other AIDS Institute contractors provide LGBT cultural competency trainings, but none do targeted MSM anti-violence work. AVP's initial discretionary contract for the pilot social media campaign on MSM dating website and apps was extraordinarily successful as noted above. Since these sites are being used by MSM who are engaging in sexual activities that may make them more vulnerable for acquiring HIV/STD/HCV, as well as violence, it is important to continue this contract and gather additional information to direct the AIDS Institute for future targeted MSM outreach, testing, and funding solicitations.

Procurement / Program Name HIV/STD and Violence Prevention using Social Media
Contractor Name(s) New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
Contract Period 2/1/2015 – 3/31/2016
Contract Number(s) C030745