H-TEAM launches new campaign

Last week, the initiative Man to Man rolled out a groundbreaking online campaign. The campaign is specifically designed to encourage HIV testing among gay and bisexual men who seldom, if ever, get tested. The campaign strategy was informed by several H-TEAM studies and valuable input from the MSM community, aiming to reach previously unreached subgroups.

Amsterdam has set an ambitious goal to become one of the first cities globally to achieve zero new HIV infections. While the city’s HIV strategy has been highly successful, some men, for various reasons, still do not get tested. This is despite the significant advancements in HIV treatment, which allows individuals with HIV who are on medication to live healthy lives and not transmit the virus to others. Therefore, it’s crucial for individuals to be aware of their HIV status.

The campaign is unique in its approach, focusing on four specific subgroups rather than the broader, already well-reached demographic. These subgroups include a bisexual youth, an older man traumatized by the AIDS epidemic, a Moroccan-Dutch youth, and a Latin American man without residence permit. These groups were identified through extensive scientific research by the H-TEAM, studying individuals who enter HIV care late and their reasons for long-term test avoidance. The campaign addresses each subgroup’s specific motivations and barriers, offering solutions for their real or perceived barriers. A community advisory board was instrumental in developing this campaign.

In collaboration with Amsterdam-based production company Sounds Like Film, the campaign developed a series of dramatized storylines based on real-life scenarios, rooted in the data gathered in earlier phases of the project. The goal is to encourage men, who identify with the characters in the short films, to go through a transformative journey to get tested. The campaign is hosted at mantotman.nl. Under the direction of Sander Ligthart, the campaign has produced two online mini-feature films. The actors, chosen through an intensive casting process from the community, were encouraged to draw from their own experiences, working with improvised dialogues. The campaign to engage MSM from Amsterdam is being promoted through Facebook, Instagram, Grindr, and YouTube between May to August 2023, and will be screened during various screening events during Amsterdam Pride in July and August.

For further information contact Arjan van Bijnen at avanbijnen@soaaids.nl

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Man to Man and Mantotman.nl are initiatives of Soa Aids Netherlands, GGD Amsterdam, and GGD Rotterdam-Rijnmond, focusing on men who have sex with men. The initiative offers online and on-site education and campaigns.

The H-TEAM is a unique collaboration between all the organizations and parties involved in the prevention and treatment of HIV in Amsterdam, including the target groups. Together we are working on a future with no new HIV infections (www.hteam.nl).

We are thankful for the MSM community members who participated in the design and review of the campaign.

Campaign Credits: Client: H-TEAM / Man to Man

Campaign Lead: Arjan van Bijnen
Research: Muhammad Sharjeel

Advertising Distribution: WeDigital
Production Company: Sounds Like Film
Director: Sander Ligthart
Producer: Jorrit Gerritsen
DOP: Jeroen Simons
Casting: July Janssen
Styling: Sanne Prins
Production Design: Nathalie Veen Gaffer: Emile
Groenewoud Sound: Wouter van Opdorp
Sound Design: Nando Eweg / Sounds Like Film
Edit: Sander Ligthart
Grading: Cinemeta

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