11 November 2022 | Silvia Poggioli

The latest UNAIDS report sounded an alarm among those in and outside the HIV response that investments and efforts in HIV prevention and treatment are not bringing about the progress we need to end the epidemic by 2030. In 2021 alone, 1.5 million people became infected with HIV, three times the global target. In sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls account for 63% of all new HIV infections, with six out of seven new infections among young people occurring among girls aged 15–19 years.

Health literacy and digital communication have an important part to play in reversing this trend and our latest Annual Report for 2021-22 sets out the work we have been doing to support this goal. Focusing on the first year of our new strategy the report showcases our exciting successes, invaluable partnerships, and the pathways that will see us building health literacy on HIV and sexual health and contributing to ending AIDS by 2030.

Health literacy has never mattered more. It plays a crucial role in disease prevention, promoting sexual health, and supporting people to live well with HIV, by improving an individual’s ability to gain access to, understand and use reliable information. Health literacy empowers people to use this knowledge to take action to improve their self-care. Digital communication also presents enormous opportunities to promote and increase health literacy across disenfranchised communities.

Health literacy has never mattered more. It plays a crucial role in disease prevention, promoting sexual health, and supporting people to live well with HIV.

During 2021-22:

  • We launched our new flagship brand Be in the KNOW at the end of March 2022. Targeting young adults, educators and practitioners, Be in the KNOW is designed from the ground up to be fast, data-light and accessible, and offers engaging and sex-positive content. Its design helps young people understand, discuss, and take action to protect their sexual health. It also builds the knowledge of community health workers and practitioners. Through the launch campaign, we reached over 4.5 million people across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. We are looking to report forward on its reach in next year’s Annual report.
  • During the past 12 months, we also forged important new partnerships. For example, in South Africa in partnership with Praekelt and supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, we are developing a new platform to engage and support young people using a chatbot and social media. With VSO we are building the sexual health literacy of rural, out-of-school, low literacy girls in Mozambique through a visual and audio-only app Yaya, demonstrating the potential of digital even for the most disadvantaged.
  • We are also supporting the essential work of community health workers and peer educators at the forefront of the HIV response. Thousands of health workers in Zimbabwe are now using our app-based information resource and job-aid – Boost – to provide clients with information and advice. We are now testing the use of new screening tools in Boost to support referrals and service uptake.

Partnerships are the foundation of all our work and we’re grateful to all those who supported and worked with us over the past year to make our vision a reality.

As we look to the year ahead, we will continue to extend our partnerships and develop our reputation as a thought leader on digital responses for HIV and sexual health promotion. We remain committed to building our evidence base and demonstrating the impact and change brought about by our programmes and partnerships.

We hope that what you read in our new annual report excites and encourages you. If you would like to discuss partnerships or just let us know your thoughts and comments, we would love to hear from you at

Avert's mission is to raise health literacy on HIV and sexual health among those most affected in areas of highest need, to support informed choices. We do this through accessible, accurate, actionable and sex-positive digital communications.

Photo credit: iStock/Wavebreakmedia. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.