Awareness raising and treatment
By creating awareness and providing immediate referral trajectories for testing options and treatment, the H-TEAM:
- Promotes greater awareness of the early symptoms of HIV among MSM
- Ensures faster detection of acute or chronic HIV in MSM
To stop the HIV epidemic in Amsterdam, it is important that people know their HIV status and access treatment in time. Some 70 percent of HIV infections in the Netherlands occur among MSM. This group is therefore the focus of the H-TEAM’s awareness-raising activities.
Through innovative communication campaigns we make MSM aware of the symptoms of an acute HIV infection and the benefits of rapid treatment. Online tools are used to stimulate MSM to seek HIV testing soon after possible exposure to HIV.
So far, the H-TEAM has launched two successful campaigns and is currently working on setting up a third campaign. Scroll down for more information about these campaigns and their results.
This interactive check raises awareness of risk behaviour and the possible symptoms during the acute phase of an HIV infection. If the Symptoms Check indicates that someone may have an acute HIV infection, he or she will be referred to Public Health Service Amsterdam (PHSA). There is a special procedure that allows people who suspect that they have an acute HIV infection to be tested immediately using a special device that can detect HIV at an early stage. If a person is found to be HIV-positive, he can immediately visit an HIV practitioner in Amsterdam thanks to a special fast-track procedure.
Of the men who presented for an AHI test at PHSA, 38% confirmed that they were directed to PHSA by the campaign or the website. In the first months of the campaign, this rate was 60%. This not only shows that the website is still effective, but also suggests a process of generalization of the knowledge on acute HIV within the risk group and among professionals, as almost two-thirds of referrals are now taking place outside the campaign.
The H-TEAM is currently investigating whether the AHI diagnostic and referral trajectory could be implemented on a national level.