A ****couple of months ago I was given the opportunity to undergo a mentored UX Design course from Springboard. I’ve been active in the local UX and HIV advocacies, but I thought going through this program would be a perfect chance to actually increase my confidence as a UX designer while creating something that had actual social impact.
I was lucky enough to be paired with the amazing Emily Waggoner, a UX designer for MIT who’s interests closely matched my own. Her work in transgender rights we’re a perfect match to my own advocacies.
To better understand the problem, I needed to first understand the HIV situation in the Philippines and how it compares to the rest of the world.
The first Philippine case of HIV was reported in January 1984. Since then the Philippines has stayed a low-prevalence country in terms of global statistics — however, the infection rates continue to rise specially amongst the MSM. This trend runs opposite to the global trend where rates are decreasing and some predict that the emerging epidemic may soon jump onto the general public.
Before I could actually start designing solutions, it’s important to actually understand the social situation surrounding HIV. At this point, I decided to narrow down the questions to the experience of getting tested and the experience of those after getting tested and diagnosed. It was after making this analaysis that I thought it was important to focus onyoung adults in the Philippines as well as PLHIVs.
I started with a survey to get more quantitative data as a sneak peak into the psyche of our audience. An online survey was conducted with 104 participants. I also held in-depth interviews with individuals focusing on their experience getting tested and, for the PLHIVs, their experience about stigma and treatment.
Though the survey was quite short with a limited audience of 105 participants, interpolating the data showed amazing insights which most people never quite considered.
Majority of the male respondents in the survey identified themselves as gay, bisexual or queer — a target audience of many HIV awareness campaigns. Within this demographic, over half (61.3%) reported of subjecting themselves to voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). This may be attributed to the increasing movements related to HIV and STI education and management in the country.
However, the findings suggest that within the LGBT sector of the male respondents, a sizeable 38.7% have not accessed HIV testing facilities or services — not to mention very small heterosexual cohort (f=??) that also answered the online survey. The call to sustain and improve efforts towards making Testing and Treatment more accessible to both the key and general population must be maintained.
The survey shows some promising results for testing amongst men who identify as LGBT. Though this should not make us overconfident as a large portion still have not gotten themselves tested.