Hornet is the number one gay social networking app in Brazil. In Brazil HIV disproportionately impacts gay men. PrEP will be made available to gay men starting December 1, 2017 in over 10 different cities around the country, however PrEP will not be available “on demand.” Gay men will be able to access it for free at a finite set of clinics around the country. HIV-negative gay men, and the entire LGBT community, could greatly benefit from PrEP. We must ensure that gay men fully understand all there is to know about this new and exciting prevention option and how to access it.
Hornet isn’t just a gay social network it is a part of the LGBT community and Hornet is committed to advancing the health and wellness of gay men in Brazil. The lives of gay men have value and we cannot allow one more gay man to become infected because they didn’t have access to all the available prevention options. If the Brazilian government truly believes in the human rights of all its people then it must dramatically increase its investment in gay men’s health.
Hornet’s intends to create change in Brazil around PrEP and the strategy involves five key components:
What PrEP is and Why it Matters (I)
Gay men in Brazil, particularly young gay men, must know what PrEP is and how it can benefit their health. Hornet will provide a platform for actual PrEP users to share their stories of taking PrEP in Brazil and its impacts on their health, relationships, and sexuality.
Hornet will launch a social media campaign called “Quero Meu PrEP!” This campaign will include original written and video content, interviews with PrEP providers, advocates, and PrEP users. T-shirts, posters and other public facing material will also be a key component of the campaign to combat any PrEP related stigma. No one should be ashamed to choose PrEP
PrEP Is Available for Free or Low Cost (II)
- PrEP can only work if people have access to it. If PrEP is unaffordable then price becomes a major obstacle. We’ll provide our community of users with all the available options for accessing PrEP, from the select clinics around the country to more grassroots options such as purchasing PrEP online. No matter how men choose to access PrEP they will be informed of standard PrEP protocol and the importance of regular monitoring by a healthcare professional.
Mobilizing Social Influencers (III)
Hornet has teamed up with experts in PrEP and gay men’s health to create content that has an impact on the community. Dr Ricardo Vasconcelos will be a regular contributor as part of an ongoing series about PrEP. We’ll feature the content of Brazilian social media influencers, such as Doutor Maravilha and Super Indetectável, to help men better understand how PrEP could be an option for them.
Educational Materials for Health Professionals and The Community (IV)
Hornet will create shareable and easy to understand educational handouts on PrEP facts, and talking to your doctor about PrEP, and sexual health. Health professional play a key role in helping the community understand that PrEP is an option. Hornet is working with health care professionals to develop educational materials to increase the knowledge of PrEP among providers and combat any stigma associated with PrEP or LGBT sexuality.
Lobby for Policy Change (V)
- Hornet will work to mobilize the LGBT community in Brazil to demand that the government increase its investment in gay men’s health. The current plan to provide PrEP for free for 10,000 individuals in Brazil is grossly inadequate in a country with millions of gay men. Hornet will activate its community of users to engage policy makers through petitions and grassroots political action in hopes of bringing about policy change.
Hornet, in partnership with UNAIDS Brazil, conducted a PrEP survey among its community of users in Brazil. In the course of three weeks 3218 responses were collected. Some key findings of the survey:
- Over 56% of respondents were 18-30
- 84% had heard of PrEP before
- 40% gained information about PrEP from Horne’s Know Your Status feature
- 28% of respondents were HIV-positive
- 36% of negative men were likely to use PrEP in the next 6 months
- 27% of respondents has tested positive for an STI in the past 12 months
For this PrEP survey in Brazil general awareness of PrEP was high among Hornet users. Hornet is a key source of information about PrEP and that means that the social networking app has a unique opportunity to engage gay men around their sexual health. The rate of HIV among respondents was particularly high and underscores the importance of providing gay men with information and resources about HIV treatment and prevention. Over a third of respondents are likely to use PrEP in the next 6 months highlighting the need for implementation to be ready to meet the needs of gay men on December 1.
Gay men in Brazil are a vibrant and dynamic community that deserves to be cultivated and celebrated. Healthcare is a fundamental human right and all people should have access to antiretroviral medication regardless of HIV status. PrEP can have a profound impact on the HIV epidemic in Brazil but it will require a forceful response from government, businesses, and community.