At Moses, we have a simple credo: do great work for people who do good. Maybe that’s why some of our best work, and the work we’ve been most proud of, has been for the Arizona Department of Health Services’ HIV Prevention Program. From public awareness campaigns to Pride installations, we made it our mission to get the word out about HIV testing and treatment in a way that worked. And the HIV Mystery Kit was no exception.
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While the distribution of HIV home test kits was not a new concept around the U.S., this was the first program of its kind for ADHS’s Office of HIV Prevention. Moses was tasked with developing not only the concept for the pilot program but also the packaging, website, ad placements, and any potential merchandise materials. Ultimately, for this grant-funded program to succeed, it would need raise both awareness and excitement over HIV testing.
In order to get our target audience (gay men of color, aged 18 and up, who had not been tested in over a year) interested in the home test kits, the concept and its packaging would need to have a novelty to them. Tying back to our previous HIV awareness campaign, which told the public that HIV was only dangerous if you didn’t know it was there, we decided that the goal of this project was to essentially take the mystery out of HIV. Thus, the HIV Mystery Kits were born. Inspired by the mail-order novelty prizes of traditional comic books, the Mystery Kit presented home testing in way that was fun and approachable. It included decoder glasses, hidden messages across all collateral, and a clean design that complimented the clever copy and wordplay.
Once participants received the results from the 20-minute swab test inside the Mystery Kit, they were directed to our custom-built site (hivmysterykit.org) which guided them on the next best steps to take to either remain HIV negative or treat their HIV positive status. Ultimately, demand for the free kits was so high that, despite an estimated run time of June through November, supply ran out within two months. They were distributed (either by mail or in-person pickup) to 471 people across the state, and in the process two new cases of HIV were confirmed (for which care and support services were provided). While our primary goal was to help ADHS in their efforts to raise awareness and eventually end the spread of HIV, the project itself received industry attention, winning gold and silver Addys on a local and national level.