The need to rapidly increase the access to HIV and STI testing for MSM and transgender communities in key urban centres remains a key focus for APCOM. It is in these cities where the infection rates are alarmingly high, but many individuals still remain unaware of their HIV status. The “Test BKK”- campaign tries to address this issue, especially targeting younger MSM.
With a successful launch and community mobilization APCOM generated significant interest in the campaign; in less than a month the campaign website had attracted approximately 35,000 page views. The four videos released on YouTube ticked over 500,000 views and received national and international media attention from nineteen different news outlets including the Huffington Post, The Gaily Grind and Queerty.
While still in the first phase of the campaign, already APCOM received notification from the clinics that they saw an increase in numbers of MSM testing within the services offered by TestBKK.
The success of the TestBKK pilot – which will hopefully see the campaign rollout in other cities – really depended on how successfully the target audience engaged with the campaign and shared messages on social media with their peers. The involvement of the service providers to ensure quality and stigma-free services is also essential. The aim is to create an environment where (young) people will feel confident about accessing testing – and when they do test, ensuring that their first time testing experience will be a positive one.
In the longer term the campaign will need to be sustained by the involvement of the local community organisations, as well as private sector partnerships in order to reach other young people who may not already be connected to the HIV organisations.
The campaign is not a one-off activity for APCOM and will need to be sustained over a period of time to build the brand recognition and trust. This sustained effort needs adequate investment in all these areas to achieve a best result over a longer term.
The behaviour change communication statragy behind the campaign was featured and discussed at the Conference and was seen as a particularly good example of how a catchy video and the strategic use of social media can reach the wider audience and spark behavioural change. More info on the campaign can be found at TestBKK’s Highlight publication.
Header Photo: Campaign Officer Apiwit Tibumrung presenting TestBKK as a behaviour change communication innovation to increase the uptake of HIV testing among young gay men in urban city