Sydney’s Thai gay community has the highest number of new HIV notifications of any non-English speaking cultural group in the city.

ACON has joined with its Thai counter-agency, Rainbow Sky, to address these figures with a new, playful HIV prevention campaign.

Based on ACON’s successful Up Ya Bum campaign, the material has been re-designed to use culturally appropriate images and language to encourage condom use among Thai men here and abroad.

Combining Australian and Thai resources, the new ACON-led Thai Up Your Bum campaign aims to reduce high rates of HIV infection among Sydney’s Thai community.

“Anecdotal evidence indicates a high degree of mobility between Bangkok and Sydney by gay men and other men who have sex with men,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said.

“We’ll be using this campaign to help increase awareness among Thai gay men living in or visiting Sydney of the need to use condoms and lube to protect themselves and their partners from HIV.

“We entered into partnership with Rainbow Sky several years ago to help improve Thailand’s response to HIV transmission among gay men in their country. However the partnership — and this campaign in particular ­— is also helping us improve our HIV prevention efforts here in NSW.”

ACON international projects manager Stephen Scott said the relationship was a mutually beneficial one.

“Sydney is one of the only major cities in the world where the rate of HIV transmission has remained stable for over a decade,” he said.

“There are lessons that Rainbow Sky can learn from us, in terms of the campaigns we run, and ACON also has a lot to learn from Rainbow Sky.

“HIV/AIDS is an escalating problem in south-east Asia and the Pacific, and every country in the region has a responsibility to help each other improve the programs, systems and strategies that are employed in the struggle against HIV.”

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