Named after a discussion paper with the same title, Jumping Hurdles is the region’s first animation video to advocate the importance of youth-friendly HIV services. Jumping Hurdles visualises issues faced by young gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in accessing HIV services, followed by a series of recommendations on how healthcare settings can make their HIV services inclusive towards young clients.
High-quality visual content can have a major impression on how we interpret information. From studying brain scans to tracking eye movements, academics have found that visual content is digested differently than text. Visuals, such as an animation video, deliver more information, more effectively. That is why APCOM, in collaboration with Youth Voices Count (YVC), converts one of its written advocacy products into a moving illustration.
“The hectic, short-lived nature of knowledge exchange on online platform means that there are times, including for the advocacy effort, when we only have a brief opportunity to catch our target audience’s attention. Producing the video version of [Jumping Hurdles] as an addition to its advocacy paper will dramatically leverage our commitment to increase the uptake of HIV testing among young gay and transgender people,” explained Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana.
According to UNAIDS’ most recent Asia-Pacific epidemiological estimates, approximately 58,000 new HIV infections occurred in young people aged 10-19 and 600,000 young people aged between 15-24 are living with HIV in the region. Regrettably, many healthcare services in the region focus on mere prevention or treatment aspects, overlooking the socio-economic and psychological sphere of their young patients.
A UNESCO study suggests that HIV knowledge levels, including how to prevent HIV infection, are distressingly low among young people living in the region. Even when these young people understand the importance of HIV testing, many are frightened to access services. They fear of having their sexual orientation and/or gender identity being disclosed to their family without consent as well as of being judged and ridiculed by the medical staff.
Homophobia and transphobia propagate hostile HIV testing and counselling for young gay, bisexual and transgender people. When homophobia and transphobia persist in a clinical setting, there is a risk of the counseling comprising corrective measures against their sexual orientation and gender identity, as opposed to providing support and resources for their specific health needs. Not only will this mentally traumatize them, but also decrease their willingness to do regular testing and/or enter into HIV continuum of care.
Aimed to be utilised as an additional advocacy tool to influence policy makers and health practitioners in the region, the video will soon be available in APCOM’s Facebook and YouTube channels with the most commonly spoken Asian languages, such as Indonesian, Hindi, and Chinese, being available for closed caption options. The video will also be integrated into the country projects of YVC’s IGNITE! Mentorship Programme, a mentorship that guides young advocates from seven different Asian countries to carry out youth-oriented HIV advocacy project.
Jumping Hurdles was supported by UNDP through the Multi-Country South Asia Global Fund HIV Programme. The development of the video was guided by inputs from Youth Lead and a cadre of young community advocates from across the region, as well as development partners such as UNDP, UNAIDS and UNICEF. APCOM and YVC hope that the release of Jumping Hurdles will trigger more creative advocacy tool by and for the community in the region. Feedbacks on the video can be submitted at goo.gl/X3MqXN.