Before proceeding to explain the subject header, I need to clarify on the term MSM. MSM means Men Who Have Sex With Men. Gay men are part of the MSM category, however, MSM are not necessarily gay. It can be the husband in a heterosexual couple, it can be that single bachelor in a wild stag party, it can be anyone who at one point of time or another, engages in same-sex sexual behaviour.
Now that I have clarified the term MSM, I will proceed to summarise the report provided by Action For AIDS(AFA) last week. The report tested MSM for HIV using the OraQuick Oral Test kits which gives an immediate result using a mouth/saliva swab.
The tests was conducted at various location frequent by MSMs between December 2007 and February
2008. AFA provides the personnel on-site to ensure that the tests were conducted properly and safely while giving participants succint information in the event that they are tested positive.
The tests were still conducted anonymously, patients identified only by number tags.
All in all, 960 MSM took part in this test, in which 3.1% or 30 persons have tested positive for HIV. In 2006, a Behavioural Surveillance Studies(BSS) conducted by Fridae (a regional gay portal) showed that the number of MSM going for HIV test is 46.9%. In 2007, a similar survey found that cases of unprotected anal sex between men was found to have been reduced by 22-27% compared to the BSS’06.
AFA is aiming for the number of MSM to go for HIV tests to hit 80% by 2011.
The number of clients regardless of sexual orientations or preferences have grown in 2007. AFA saw 6,903 clients tested at the Anonymous HIV Testing Centre; this was a double digit growth of 14% compared to attendances in 2006. Of those tested, more than 30% are first time walk-ins and that showed a strong public confidence in AFA and that the general public know the importance of early testing. The number of clients that tested positive in 2007 were 125.
AFA has tried engaging the public through a lot of medium. Various campaigns have been launched to stressed the importance of safer sexual behaviour and early testing. AFA are fortunate to have Fridae to aid them, coming out with various publicity tools, including those that may appeal to the younger generations. AFA have also put a foot in the Social Media scene by putting up a Facebook account, where it has on some occasions shared information and requested some interactions from the subscribers in the form of focus groups.
Social Media Interaction Campaign:
With Fridae: http://www.afa.org.sg/thinkagain/index.html
Anonymous Test Centre
AfA anonymous HIV testing and Counselling centre is
31 Kelantan Lane #01-16, Singapore 200031
Tuesday & Wednesday
6:30pm to 8:00pm
1:30pm to 3:30pm
For more information on the clinic, operations and testing services please feel free to call 62540212 or visit their website http://www.afa.org..sg