APCOM, with support from Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO), launches Positive Podcast, a podcast series focusing on building resilience among gay men and other men who are having sex with men, who are also living with HIV (MSM+). The podcasts target MSM+ in big cities in Asia through a series of easily accessible and downloadable digital audio recordings, which present the perspectives, concerns and aspirations of a number of MSM+ from across the region. Aiming to provide peer insights and moral support to develop positive coping mechanisms among MSM+, the podcasts are accessible via Limelight – APCOM’s online content series profiling the unsung individual community advocates.
“This initiative from APCOM is a personal approach that aims to promote decision-making of MSM+ to access treatment as early as possible for improved health outcomes.,” says Chris Connelly, AFAO International Program Manager. “We hope recording and presenting personal stories for MSM living with HIV and young MSM to listen to will also ignite engagement and leadership among MSM advocates around treatment access and uptake for MSM+.”
Resiliency is defined as the process of overcoming the negative effects of risk exposure, coping successfully with traumatic experiences, and avoiding trajectories associated with risks.
Resiliency is defined as the process of overcoming the negative effects of risk exposure, coping successfully with traumatic experiences, and avoiding trajectories associated with risks. It is a positive adaptation in the face of adversity and risk. On the contrary, lack of resilience among MSM+ may mean the inability to seek social support and ask for advice, leading to negative coping mechanisms, and in some cases even suicide.
Resiliency is a factor that affects the uptake of, and adherence to, anti retroviral treatment (ART). Existing data on the high number of discrimination cases against MSM+, low uptake of ART, the leaking cascade from testing and diagnosis to treatment, adherence and viral suppression support the assumption that resiliency needs strengthening among many MSM+. Building resiliency among MSM+ will hopefully contribute to greater empowerment of MSM+ to demanding their health and broader human rights.
“We need to normalize conversations about sex, living positively and having same sex relationships.” says Midnight Poonkasetwattana, APCOM Executive Director. “This project aims to do this by sharing personal stories of MSM living with HIV and the range of their personal challenges, hopes and ambitions.”
Listen to the Positive Podcast’s first two episodes.
The storyteller, Ferry, is 33 years old, and living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Ferry was a male sex worker. After being diagnosed with HIV, he didn’t think he would be able to find a partner and share a happy relationship. Contrary to his initial thought, living with HIV turned out not to be an obstacle to him finding a partner. In this podcast, Ferry shares his story on his initial struggle and on being in a serodiscordant relationship.
The storyteller, John, is a Chief Executive of an Information and Technology (IT) Company in the Philippines. When diagnosed with HIV two years ago, self-stigma caused him to look at himself with great judgment. In this episode, John shares his story on his journey getting the support from family and friends who helped to change his mindset and address his self-stigma.