ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

Using ICT to reach key populations

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Recruiting people into HIV services
Panus Na Nakorn

The breakout session PA_9 was entitled, 'Innovative HIV testing, prevention and care service delivery models' with the first speaker Dr. Panus Na Nakorn presenting a session entitled, 'Recruiting people into HIV services: ebooking'. He told us that this model of care was Thailand-based where their 90-90-90 figures were 82-72-79 in 2014. The 90-90-90 is an indicator of how well countries are providing HIV treatment. It represents the percentage of people diagnosed-the percentage of those people on treatment-the percentage of those who are virally suppressed. He broke those figures down for MSM and they were poor reading as 19-37-65.

The speaker then discussed the Thai national strategic framework to end AIDS. He discussed current (offline) interventions where peer to peer and social networks are the most common way of trying to get get people to attend for testing. The speaker highlighted an interesting fact about internet use in Thailand - MSM and TransFemales spent more time on the Internet than other groups. To capitalise on this, a MSM specific site was created called 'Adam's Love Site'. This site was very well accessed and resulted in 20000 visitors to clinics for HIV and STI testing. This result showed that the internet could be a way of reaching MSM and getting them tested and into treatment. Dr. Nakorn explained how the ebooking system worked. After logging into the website, the client took a quick survey about any risk taking behaviours. If any were highlighted, they would be offered a test at a centre of their choosing and at a time/date convenient to them. The client filled out a form online and this gave the client a unique code. This code was sent to the centre they had chosen so when the client attended the centre already knew why they were there. Confidentiality was therefore maintained throughout. 
Dr. Nakorn completed his session by saying that ICT and social media needs to be embraced as way to reach key populations in this age of technology.

This sentiment has also been echoed by DR. Chris Beyrer who in a discussion session yesterday said (not verbatim) '...services need to go where the people are. Thats where the outreach principle came from. People now live in a virtual world. That's where the services need to go.'

Wise words.

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Tagged in: APACC 2017
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