All eyes of the world are now focused on Sochi. And it’s not just about sport. Many gay rights organizations experiencing their busiest time. With a flood of campaigns.
As mentioned in this post only one in ten gay men worldwide have access to information about HIV, HIV testing and treatment.
This fact is the basis of a new campaign from Singapore.
Test Loud, Test Proud is launched to raise awareness of HIV and encourage testing amongst the MSM / gay community. This is especially challenging in Singapore because homosexuality is still technically illegal.
The target group is addressed on social reasons to get involved. And to encourage the test is anonymous.
The campaign website contains a number of video portraits of men who have already do a test. Like Hossan Leong, a comedian from Singapore:
The campaign is more than just a call for testing. A test should give a feeling of pride. Therefore, there is also a call to share it across various platforms like Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #testloudtestproud. To break the stigma.
Tested men also receive a ‘I’m Tested’ card. A test certificate and a discount card for shops.
Stigma and discrimination
Paul from the agency behind the campaign told me:
For MSMs in Singapore, the dangers are much less than even 5 or 6 years ago. Technically it’s still illegal, but it’s very unlikely anyone would be prosecuted. The main challenge is that there’s still a lot of the MSM community who haven’t told their families. Also, every able-bodied male has to do national service too – so many don’t feel they can speak to friends until after that.
In Asia and Singapore, the importance of families and community is paramount, and it’s vital not to cast any ‘shame’ that could cause people to lose face. Sadly being MSM is still considered a scandal / shaming for many Singaporeans. A recent study (2013) by the institute of policy studies in Singapore showed that 78% of singaporeans see a same sex relationship as wrong. The worry with HIV testing is that it could indicate being MSM and your name being put down on a government watch list, or found out by others. So part of our solution is mobile anonymous testing.
Tweets about #testloudtestproud: