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The Social Cure is a documentary film exploring the capabilities of our own personal relationships to affect change. Our target: a hostile epidemic that’s victimizing minority populations across the globe.

In association with NYU, The Preakelt Foundation is launching a new study that uses mobile technology to increase HIV testing in South Africa.  The objective is to create a universally accessible,mobile platform that uses Social Contagion and Peer Incentives, to increase the likelihood of a user taking an HIV test, especially those in the at-risk demographic of women aged 18-24. The plan is to put a new twist on an old policy lever – economic incentives.

With the cooperation of a large mobile service operator, this study will offer free airtime to cell phone users who take the initiative to get tested. Those who get tested will be offered additional air time for each friend they successfully refer to HIV testing. 

For centuries, economists and lawmakers have used incentives to change society. Taxes on cigarette consumption reduce smoking. Tax breaks to companies that create jobs at home increase employment.
Social incentives potentially carry even more power.  Individuals know which of their friends are most in
need and most likely to respond to the incentive itself.  We know where our friends’ interests are and — above all — we trust our friends.

We will investigate what incentives do to drive positive behaviors and raise awareness.  Once awareness is heightened, how likely are we to pass it on?  How can we be motivated to spread our newly adopted behaviors and awareness?  When we send an anonymous message, does it have the same affect as a word from a friend?  How powerful, how motivating is our simple longing for connection with one another?

So what happens when we don’t have incentives to promote positive behaviors? Once awareness is raised, can positive social change be affected without motivation of physical profit?  Now that we’re connected, how can we affect a healthier community, positive social and cultural change?  How can we
not only communicate messages that promote positive change, but encourage them to be internalized by the individual?

What other positive behaviors can we influence?

How can you and your friends change the world?

The SOCIAL CURE explores how we can affect one another to contribute to a better, safer, healthier world.

**This film will be used to promote the program’s success for use in other affected nations.  Viewed across the globe, this film hopes to inspire individuals to use their social networking capabilities to influence positive behavior and affect a positive global movement.


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts