Prevention in Focus

Spring 2015 

International resources for prevention with gay men

By Erica Lee

Does your prevention work with gay men need some inspiration? These resources, tools and campaigns demonstrate how organizations in different countries have tried to motivate and educate gay men around HIV and hepatitis C risk, testing and prevention. Some resources contain explicit material that may not be welcomed by all audiences.

Getting the facts

Sometimes you just want to deliver the facts, but how do you present them in an engaging way so people read on? These sites review the basics and address common questions and misconceptions using eye-catching visuals and an open and sex-positive approach.

  • The Drama Down Under – A website from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO) with information on common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men that also promotes STI disclosure to sex partners by the recently diagnosed.
  • The New Deal: Gay Men, Sex and Hep C – Another AFAO website, this time educating gay men about the risk of sexual transmission of hepatitis C and the basics of hepatitis C testing and treatment. The site also has information specifically for HIV-positive men.
  • Love Your Condom – A New Zealand AIDS Foundation website exploring safer sex with a focus on condom use. The site includes video demonstrations and other frank and straightforward guidance useful for both less and more experienced men.
  • Prepfacts.org – Presented by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and its partners, this website explains the basics of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as part of a PrEP research project. Gay men can use this site to learn about how PrEP works and to decide if PrEP is the right prevention strategy for them.
  • Que du plaisir! – A two page brochure that can also be used as a poster from the organization Aide Suisse contre le Sida. It succinctly touches upon key safer sex topics for gay men including information for drug users, sex workers, trans men and HIV-positive men.

Knowing your options

Trying to address a wide spectrum of sexual activities and preferences? With frank, non-judgmental language and at times revealing images, these sites from the Victoria AIDS Council/Gay Men's Health Centre (VAC/GMHC) in Australia and Le Kioske in France explore a range of different sexual activities, their transmission risks and tips for engaging in them more safely.

  • Top2bottom – A friendly and welcoming site reviewing the pros and cons of common safer sex strategies and other prevention topics, such as condom use, serosorting and the impact of viral load on HIV transmission.
  • Down an’ Dirty – A website with an 18+ age suggestion surveying a variety of more adventurous sexual activities like BDSM and providing options for those interested in drug use and body modification as well.
  • Wherever Sex Happens – This site looks not only at prevention options for different sexual activities, but also considers the different situations through which gay men may have sex such as online cruising or while on holiday.
  • Chercher le garcon : guide de santé sexuelle à destination des hommes qui ont des relations sexuelles avec d’autres hommes – From the organization Le Kioske in France, this booklet explores and promotes sexual pleasure while encouraging and providing gay men with tips to stay safe and act responsibly.

Hearing from a friend

There’s nothing like learning from the perspective of a peer. These resources from the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men's Health Centre (VAC/GMHC), AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Yagg use personal stories, both real life and fictional, to share experiences about being gay, taking risks and playing safe.

  • Staying Negative – Gay men share their stories and life experiences in their own words alongside information on safer sex, sexual health and relationships. The stories convey the range of personal and social factors that impact health and well-being in a candid and engaging way.
  • Being Brendo – A seven-season online soap opera following the daily lives of a group of gay housemates in Melbourne, Australia.
  • The Adventures of Dermott: The Cute Gay Nerd – A youth-oriented comic strip about a newly out young gay man exploring his sexuality and spreading the word about safer sex among his friends and community.
  • My PrEP Experience – A blog managed by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago where gay men and others share their personal experiences of starting and being on PrEP, both the good and the bad.
  • Tu sais quoi? – A campaign from the French LGBT news site Yagg that illustrates condom use decision making between gay men through short films. The campaign includes humorous films, films with a more serious tone, as well as films that are sexually explicit.

Feeling engaged

If you’re looking to inspire personal action and promote a sense of responsibility and community, check out these campaigns.

  • It Starts With Me – From the British organization Terrence Higgins Trust, It Starts With Me aims to motivate individuals to take action and stop the spread of HIV by getting tested, getting on treatment and using condoms.
  • My Reasons for Getting an HIV Test – Aimed at Latino and Hispanic gay and bisexual men, this campaign from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prompts men to identify a personal reason for getting tested and pledge to get tested.
  • Ending HIV – An Australian campaign overseen by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO) which calls on gay men to end HIV by 2020 through testing, early treatment and staying safe.
  • Fuck positive – A campaign from Aide Suisse contre le Sida calling on gay men to contribute to a positive attitude towards HIV through how they treat HIV-positive people and their own sexual activities.

These resources have all been divided into different categories, but many of them deliver their message using not just one, but a combination of engagement strategies. These resources also share the common approach of responding to the sexual behaviours and cultural norms of specific target audiences, giving you a variety of models to inform your own prevention initiatives with gay men in different environments and populations.

About the author(s)

Erica Lee is the Information Specialist at CATIE. Since earning her Master of Information Studies, Erica has worked in the health library field, supporting the information needs of frontline service providers and service users. Before joining CATIE, Erica worked as the Librarian at the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).