Programming Connection

Text Message Reminder Tool – The Sex You Want 

Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance
Toronto, ON
2018

Overview

On World AIDS Day 2017, the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH) launched a free text message reminder initiative as part of their The Sex You Want campaign for sexually active cisgender and transgender gay, bisexual, queer and other men who have sex with men. The text message reminder tool provides free text reminders to help individuals adhere to HIV treatment, as well as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and testing. Text-based reminders can help people to stay on top of their medication and testing routines.

Why was the tool developed?

Research shows that the success of HIV treatment and PrEP are largely dependent on an individual’s adherence to their medications. However, there can be many barriers to medication adherence, such as substance use, mental health, age, and medication side effects. Text messages have been shown to be effective in promoting adherence to HIV treatment.

Testing and diagnosis for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important, to detect new infections and bring people into care and treatment. Diagnoses of infections can not only improve the health of people living with HIV or STIs through care and treatment but also help to prevent new infections, thus controlling infection in communities. Text messages may help to ensure that people are getting tested often, making it easier to detect HIV and STIs early.

How does it work?

Interested individuals can sign up by visiting this website: http://thesexyouwant.ca/reminder/ Users enter their Canadian cell phone number and select the type of reminder that they would like to receive – daily reminders for PrEP or HIV treatment, or 3-, 6-, or 12-month reminders for sexual health testing – as well as the time of day that they would like the reminder. Users can sign up for more than one type of reminder. Users must agree to the terms and conditions of the site. The information shared with the service remains private and the service can be stopped at any time.

How can I incorporate this tool into programming?

Agencies can integrate this tool into their programming to provide additional support for clients. For example, the use of this service has been taken up by some HIV care clinics; however, it could be used by any organization providing HIV and STI services.

For more information on the Sex You Want text-message reminder service please contact:

Dane Griffiths, Manager of Health Promotion
Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance
296 Jarvis Street, Unit 5
Toronto, ON  M5B 2C5
Phone: 416-364-4555
Email: Dgriffiths@gmsh.ca

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