amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

New Website Reaches Out to MSM in Thailand

 

October 2011 - TREAT Asia is a proud co-sponsor of www.adamslove.org, a new non-commercial website providing HIV/AIDS information to men who have sex with men (MSM) in Thailand.  An initiative of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre, Adam’s Love innovatively combines education and entertainment and is the first website of its kind in Southeast Asia.

Adams Love 1
Chaiwat “Tob” Thongsang, Adam’s Love ambassador

MSM in Thailand face a high risk of contracting HIV.  Two-thirds of Thailand’s 20,000 new HIV infections each year occur in MSM, and studies have shown that up to 29 percent of those receiving HIV testing in Bangkok are HIV-positive.  Despite this increased risk, stigma and discrimination often prevent MSM from seeking out care at local clinics.  Adam’s Love offers an opportunity for MSM in Thailand to access reliable HIV/AIDS-related information from the privacy of their own homes.  

“By supporting this type of effort, I believe that we can reach hidden MSM in a more proactive way than we have in the past,” explained TREAT Asia Director Dr. Annette Sohn.

In addition to basic facts about HIV risk, testing, and treatment, visitors can access expert advice and online counseling while connecting with other MSM and enjoying entertainment like photography and celebrity interviews.  Adam’s Love encourages HIV testing every three months and directs users to local clinics where they can access services.

Adams Love 2
Dr. Nittaya Phanuphak and Dr. Praphan Phanuphak from the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre

“We sincerely hope that the Adam’s Love campaign will become part of their [MSM] lives and help them overcome ignorance, fear, and prejudice,” said Dr. Praphan Phanuphak, Director of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre.  “Further, we hope that they will eventually adopt safer sexual practices and come to receive medical services from the Thai Red Cross Society’s Anonymous Clinic.”

Thanks to a high-profile launch campaign featuring a 30-second commercial created by well-known Thai director Marut Sarovart and a fashion shoot with the first Adam’s Love ambassador Chaiwat “Tob” Thongsang, the website has amassed 800 members in its first few weeks of operation.  The website’s creative team is now partnering with amfAR to explore initiating a similar “edutainment” website in Indonesia.