ETCH and researchers from LSTM, working partnership with the University of the Philippines, have been awarded over £590,000 to pilot a digital game aimed at increasing the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) knowing their HIV status in the Philippines.
HIV is a significant health issue in the Philippines. In May 2015 the Philippines Department of Health (PDOH) Aids Registry reported 22,684 people living with HIV/AIDS, with a 51% increase in new cases from the same period the previous year. The overwhelming majority of those new cases were sexually transmitted, of which 86% were among MSM.
According to observation by the PDOH high risk groups, especially MSM, tend not to come forward for testing, and the two week time period between testing and diagnosis in the current system leads to few returns for treatment and care. This is an important contributing factor to the Philippines having the fastest growing HIV epidemic in the world (WHO, 2014). There is a clear need to address delays in the current diagnosis system and pilot targeted interventions to improve uptake of HIV testing and counselling (HTC) services among high risk groups.
As the HIV epidemic worsens a more positive change is occurring in the Philippines. Increased online connectivity and a growing economy has generated a significant growth in digital gaming in the Philippines, and a potential new avenue of communication for the public health sector.”
The project will run from Januray 2016 to December 2018.
Keep an eye on the blog for project updates and news.