Photo: Adam’s Love
Researchers involved with Adam’s Love, an Internet and social media-based HIV outreach initiative engaging men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand, published an article in the April edition of the Journal of Virus Eradication detailing the impact of its first four years of operation. The new study shows that between September 2011 and January 2015, the site received 1.69 million individual visitors and over eight million page views, with an average visit duration of nearly five minutes. These metrics represent an unprecedented level of interest in a website focused on raising HIV testing awareness in Asia.
Of those who tested for HIV through referrals from the site, 15.5% tested positive—demonstrating the platform’s effectiveness in reaching those previously undiagnosed. Adam’s Love proved especially effective at engaging the young (ages 14–25) and individuals who were not open about their sexual orientation, both of which are key—and often hard to reach—groups of MSM at high risk of HIV infection.
In Thailand, over half of new HIV infections are estimated to be among MSM, and in Bangkok, one-third of MSM surveyed between 2007 and 2010 were HIV positive. Despite their high risk, only 29% of MSM in Thailand get tested for HIV annually, and many have never been tested at all. MSM spend more time on the Internet than any other Thai sub-population; however, the medium had not previously been optimally used to provide MSM with relevant information about HIV, antiretroviral treatment, and testing.
Adam’s Love takes an edutainment approach to online HIV outreach, combining MSM-focused fashion photography and celebrity videos with expert HIV advice, virtual video tours of HIV testing and treatment centers, an online map identifying MSM-friendly clinics, and integrated social media and web message boards where browsers can talk to counselors and book appointments.
Adam’s Love is sponsored by the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre and supported by TREAT Asia.
To read the full article, click here.