HIV G.E.T Tested Project Update

It has been far too long since we’ve updated the blog. Thankfully this was not due to a lack of activities to report on, but more a lack of time to write.

The HIV G.E.T Tested Project has completed it’s first year. To ensure the game addressed existing barriers to HIV testing and treatment, we’ve been conducting formative research with; the MSM and transgender (TG) population, HIV testing and treatment service providers and avid gamers in the Philippines.

In the autumn of 2016, the team conducted an online and facilitated survey to explore enablers and barriers to testing among the target population. Analysis of interviews with MSM and TG, and focus group discussions with service providers, supported the design of the survey.  The survey attracted a whopping 900 participants! There were no incentives offered for completing the survey. The survey’s popularity has been credited to the targeted advertising organised by the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine and a real demand in the Philippines for improved information and services for HIV testing and treatment.

In November 2016, Charlotte Hemingway ventured to the Philippines to facilitate workshops with avid gamers. The aim of the workshop was to gain a better understanding of how the target population interacts with mobile games, the feasibility of initial design and delivery ideas and the cognitive understanding of what a serious game is and more specifically a serious game for HIV in the Philippines. For Charlotte the event was as fun as it was informative;

I had to keep pinching myself, thinking is this really my job, I get to spend hours talking about games with people as equally as passionate as I am.

We are currently in the process of translating findings from a collection of interviews, focus group discussions, clinic mapping reports and survey data into a game design document. The aim is that this data will ensure our end game is sensitive to the Philippine context, in line with current practices and available services, and demonstrates potential ‘tipping points’relating to an individual’s decision to test. For example, an individual may be acutely aware of the impact of HIV and risks of transmission, yet they do not test because they can’t afford the time off work. The ‘tipping point’ within the game could be an integrated advert, presenting free testing at local clinics and their opening times. Providing the user with practical information to help them assess if a behaviour is achievable, at a point in time when they are thinking about HIV and their health.

The project is currently on-track to complete a technical prototype of the game by the end of February 2017.

If you have any questions about any of ETCH’s projects then please get in contact.

Finally, ETCH would like to express huge gratitude to the research assistants from the University of the Philippines. Whether conducting interviews or rapidly editing videos to thank participants, your multi-disciplinary dedication to the project has been invaluable.

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