Digital media and the Internet for HIV prevention, capacity building and advocacy among gay, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender (TG): Perspectives from Kolkata, India

Published: April 15, 2012

Abstract

Increasing HIV infections among gay men, other men that have sex with men (MSM) and transgender communities and the low impact of traditional HIV prevention and capacity building approaches in enabling access to health services is a serious problem in India. This paper reports on how an HIV prevention charity, Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), used digital media and the Internet to transform HIV prevention across India. Beginning from Kolkata, India, I describe the design and launch of the SAATHII website and an online resource centre. The project illustrates how through digital media and the Internet SAATHII was able to widen access, advocacy and information dissemination among multiple audiences to complement traditional community mobilisation HIV prevention approaches. To conclude I reflect on SAATHI’s work with digital media and the Internet from a brief overview of postcolonial and queer perspectives on Indian masculinity and sexuality. I provide my reflections as an emerging South Asian digital queer scholar based on my experiences in Kolkata to disrupt dominant approaches to HIV prevention in India so as to better meet the challenges of developing AIDS-resilient communities.

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