Assessing needs and capabilities: Towards an ICT resource to support HIV-positive gay men and other MSM in Southeast Asia

Publisher:
Digital Culture & Education (DCE)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Digital Culture and Education, 2014, 6 (3), pp. 183 - 196
Issue Date:
2014-11-15
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HIV-positive gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) experience sexual stigma, HIV-related stigma and isolation that can function as barriers to accessing information related to HIV. Little is known about how these men utilize and use technology to overcome these barriers. This study sought to explore technology use and identify key technological concerns of this population through a survey among 119 HIV-positive MSM. This survey was part of a formative assessment undertaken at the initial stage of the development an information and communications technology (ICT) resource and peer-support web-app for HIV-positive MSM in Southeast Asia. In this assessment, we found that HIV-positive MSM lack access to HIV-related support and resources. In particular, we observed that younger MSM (<30) and those diagnosed with HIV within the last year were less likely to report having friends living with HIV compared to older MSM and those without a recent HIV-diagnosis, respectively. These men expressed a need for ICT services that afford opportunities for social connection and resource sharing as well as information related to legal and health care resources. These findings illustrate the capability deprivations experienced by HIV-positive men. Using Amartya Sen’s capability approach we argue that developing an ICT resource can begin to address the deprivations and information deficiencies of HIV-positive MSM by enhancing peer support and increasing access to HIV-related information and resources.
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