iheed's Medical Director Dr Kunal Patel writes for journal.ie in regard to novel methods of communicating and how it can break down discrimination and dangerous misinformation.
"Raising awareness about HIV amongst sex workers in Thailand can be a difficult task. Why? Because barriers such as stigma and discrimination exist. To overcome such barriers, methods of education and awareness-building have to be innovative; and this was certainly the case when I was working in Northern Thailand, focusing on HIV stigma amongst the transgender populations and sex workers.
My colleagues and I had to use novel methods of communicating ‘sex-ed’ messages that did not bring attention to the sex workers and possibly lead to them being discriminated against. These methods included text messaging and the placement of text and video on mobile phones – devices which every sex worker we worked with had.
These devices became windows not only into the world of Candy Crush & co., but also were used to improve awareness about confidential HIV testing, a key aspect in the fight against HIV stigma."