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Image: YouTube | Ending HIV.
New South Wales, News

ACON video shines light on PrEP for Mandarin-speaking communities

HIV organisation ACON is continuing efforts to promote HIV prevention among gay, bisexual, and queer men from Asian cultural backgrounds in New South Wales with a new campaign video featuring some of Asia’s most popular social media identities.

The new video aims to raise awareness of the HIV prevention drug PrEP.

It features Fufu and Josh, otherwise known on social media as FJ234, who have over 350,000 YouTube subscribers. 

They appear alongside leading sexual health expert Dr Stephane Wen-Wei Ku, who has been actively involved in rolling out PrEP in Asia.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said that the campaign will play a crucial role in helping to raise awareness of the highly effective HIV prevention drug among Mandarin-speaking gay communities.

“Raising awareness of PrEP, which is an extremely effective strategy for preventing HIV transmission, is fundamental to our efforts in eliminating the virus in New South Wales,” said Parkhill. 

“As we continue to observe declines in HIV transmissions, unfortunately we are still not seeing similar declines among gay men born overseas, particularly those from Mandarin-speaking Asian backgrounds.

“We know that men in our communities from Mandarin-speaking Asian backgrounds continue to encounter barriers to appropriate HIV prevention messaging, such as language and culture.”

PrEP has had an enormous impact on the rates of HIV transmission in Australia since it was first made available in 2016 through various state-based trials, and later in 2018 when it was listed on the national Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“It is now the most commonly used HIV prevention strategy for gay men, but if we are to realise its full potential in reducing HIV transmission in New South Wales, we need to break down barriers and ensure that PrEP is easily accessible to all men in our communities,” said Parkhill.

The campaign video has been produced in partnership between ACON and sexual health organisation Hotline, based in Taiwan. 

Developed in Mandarin with the community in Taiwan, it addresses frequently asked questions about PreP, with answers based on the experiences of Mandarin-speaking men in Australia.  

“In Asian cultures, many people are afraid of negotiating sex because they don’t want to feel embarrassed,” said Josh and Fufu. 

“PrEP is a good tool to protect yourself even if you are not ready to talk about sex with your sex partner. 

“We could all have a great sex life without worrying about HIV.”

Parkhill thanked everyone in communities across New South Wales for demonstrating their commitment to ending HIV by taking action such as regular testing and using HIV prevention methods such as PrEP, condoms, and undetectable viral load.

“Collaboration is key to improving awareness of PrEP, and we are extremely grateful to Fufu, Josh, Dr Ku, and Hotline for taking part in our campaign,” said Parkhill. 

“By working with them, we hope the video will be able to help educate Mandarin-speaking communities about a range of questions relating to PrEP, such as how effective it is, how easy it is to get, and different ways that PrEP can be taken.

“It’s now easier than ever for everyone to play a role in preventing HIV, getting tested, and taking control of your own sexual health.”

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