SHOWCASE November 20, 2018

NEW HIV TESTING CAMPAIGN URGES YOUNG GAY MEN TO 
‘TAKE IT’ FOR WORLD AIDS DAY

Getting young gay men in three of South East Asia’s megacities to encourage their friends to take an HIV test is the aim of a new online campaign that’s being rolled out for World AIDS Day (Dec 1).

Called Taking It, the campaign will be promoted in Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila, where the HIV prevalence among gay men is high and growing. One in four gay men in Jakarta and one in three gay men in Bangkok are HIV-positive. In the Philippines, 90% of HIV transmissions are among gay men, and across Asia less than 50% of gay men know their HIV status. Young gay men are overrepresented in terms of new transmissions in all three cities.

The Taking It campaign involves up to 20 social media influencers in each city who are popular among young gay men. Each influencer will post an online pledge to take an HIV test before or on World AIDS Day while also nominating three of their friends to do the same. The friends will then be encouraged to post their own testing pledges online while also nominating three of their friends to take part, and so on. Organisers are hoping for thousands of young gay men to be inspired and get involved.

The influencers taking part in each city include YouTube vloggers, Instagram models and TikTok personalities. All the influencers have huge numbers of extremely loyal gay followers. Similar campaigns in the past have generated significant increases in HIV testing.

The Taking It campaign is part of the regional testXXXinitiative which is led by Bangkok-based Asia Pacific HIV community network APCOM and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. testXXXraises awareness about HIV testing, treatment and prevention among young gay men in Asian cities with high HIV prevalence.

Anne Aslett, Executive Director of the Elton John AIDS Foundation: “Young gay men account for tens of thousands of new HIV cases every year across Asia. Research shows these men are particularly vulnerable with low levels of HIV education and HIV testing. However, they do have high levels of social media use and online networking, so this is a promising approach.”

Sir Elton John: “It’s great to see HIV educators in Asia being creative in how they use these platforms to get the HIV testing message out to where it’s needed.”

APCOM Executive Director Midnight Poonkasetwattana: “Knowing your HIV status by taking regular HIV tests allows you to take action to help protect your own health as well as the health of your sexual partners. It’s a simple message but a lot of young gay men in Asia aren’t aware of HIV or don’t go for HIV tests. Our Taking It campaign aims to capitalize on the significant power of online influencers among young people to raise awareness about the need for HIV testing and make the idea of getting an HIV test a bit more fun and appealing.”

The Taking Itcampaign will launch today on 20 November 2018 on each city.

For more information about the Taking Itcampaign, please visit:

testBKK(Bangkok) | testJKT(Jakarta) | testMNL(Manila).

 

ENDS | Contact:Michael Badorrek, Senior Manager, Communications and Partnerships

+66 06 3840 1122 | michaelb@apcom.org | Skype: mickbadskype