The campaign called “TestBKK” uses the slogan ‘Suck. F*#k. Test. Repeat’ to target gay men and other men who have sex with men so as to increase HIV testing in the Thai capital, reports gaystarnews.com.
TestBKK will use its website testbkk.org, Facebook, popular websites and mobile applications used by gay men, to spread information and messages so as to encourage more gay men in Bangkok to be more aware of HIV risks and the importance of using condoms.
“The campaign targets the young gay men to encourage them to get tested to know their HIV status and regularly test for HIV in a way that speaks directly to the target group,’ APCOM executive director Midnight Poonkasetwattana told gaystarnews.com.
APCOM or Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health is a coalition of members – governments, UN partners, non-profits and community based organizations working together to advocate on, highlight and prioritize HIV issues that affect the lives of men who have sex with men and transgender people.
“As the majority of new HIV cases in Thailand is occurring amongst MSM, this is a much needed campaign,” said Poonkasetwattana pointing out that the launch comes at a time just prior to the Thai New Year ‘Songkran’ celebrations in mid April that are a well know party season for the gay community in Bangkok.
The campaign will highlight it message through short videos about the importance of testing, online resources providing information about gay and MSM-friendly services in Bangkok that provide HIV tests.
The camping will also have general HIV prevention information including the proper use of condoms as well as the importance of consistent use of condoms and water based lubricants.
According to the lasted report released by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, the HIV prevalence among the gay population in Thailand has risen sharply, from 17 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2011.
Another report released in July shows an alarming HIV prevalence among men-who-have-sex with other men in Bangkok.
Bangkok Rainbow Organization, a community based NGO supporting LGBT well-being in Bangkok told GayAsiaNews that 31.1% of the estimated 260,000 MSM and transgender men and women in the Thai capital are infected with HIV/AIDS.
Other studies show that without increased efforts, this figure could rise to as high as 40% by 2015.
To date traditional forms of HIV prevention and education messages in Thailand have been through peer-to-peer networks, NGOs distributing condoms and providing information regarding HIV testing.
However the rapid increase and popularity in hook up apps and dating websites mean has required turning to online technologies and social media platforms to provide information.
The HIV/STD Research Program, Thailand MOPH – US CDC Collaboration says testing rates must rise to avoid a catastrophe because a sizable proportion of people have not been tested or tested recently and don’t know what their HIV status is.
You can watch the first of the “TestBKK” campaign video here: