A new social marketing campaign allows you to receive text messages or emails reminding you about sexually transmitted infection tests.

The 12-week Drama Down Under campaign aims to reduce HIV and STI transmission by promoting the need for sexually active HIV negative men to have regular HIV tests and by encouraging previously untested men to get tested.

The ACON campaign has been designed to work side by side with a national gay men’s sexual health education campaign concept originally developed by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO).

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said the theme of the campaign reinforced the fact that knowing your HIV status and maintaining good sexual health was “no drama”.

“Knowing your HIV status allows you to protect your own health, the health of your sexual partners, and enables you to talk to your doctor about treatment options,” Parkhill said.

“We know most gay men in NSW understand this because we have relatively high rates of HIV testing, an important factor in explaining why NSW is one of the only places in the world where HIV transmission levels have remained stable for over 12 years.

“However, recent research and data indicate that testing rates have decreased slightly over recent years, in particular amongst highly sexually active gay men who are the most at risk of getting HIV.”

Parkhill said research had shown that the number of men who had never tested might be larger than previously thought.

“The Drama Down Under campaign seeks to address these issues by increasing awareness of the need for HIV testing and maintaining good sexual health,” he said.

The campaign includes a website with information about HIV and STI testing, with clinic details, and allows visitors to sign up for an SMS or email reminder for a sexual health check. The website replaces the WhyTest website which previously provided these services to gay men in NSW.

The campaign began during the Easter and Anzac Day long weekend and will be promoted across GLBT community media and through online and social media platforms including dating websites.

Only a quarter of high-risk gay men have two or more HIV tests and sexual health screens each year.

Earlier this year, the Sydney Sexual Health Centre reported, in the online edition of the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, that text message reminders could double the rate of testing for HIV and other STIs among gay men.

info: Visit www.thedramadownunder.info

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