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Travel Notes

A new national project that brings an innovative, digital approach to health promotion for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men about sexual health and wellbeing has gone live – propelled by decades of experience and the power of community connection.

Emen8 is a fresh and innovative digital resource for men where information about good sexual health is embedded in a broader context and a daily conversation about matters of interest to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men today. Featuring a new website and associated social media channels, Emen8 has been produced by Australia’s two largest HIV and LGBTI health organisations: ACON and the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC).

Emen8 is designed to make information about HIV and STI prevention more accessible and appealing. The idea is to encourage regular reading, where articles relate sexual health information to a broader range of contexts – whether that be emotional health and wellbeing, travel, culture or even style.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says by ramping up the ‘shareability’ of the content, we can harness the power of peer networks, community connections and social influence to amplify health messaging that can in turn, encourage health behavioural change.

“Men who have sex with men account for over three quarters of all annual HIV diagnoses in Australia and are disproportionately affected by other sexually transmissible infections (STIs),” said Mr Parkhill. “There is a clear need for education around these issues. This is particularly important now because over the past few years new evidence has emerged to support a broader range of ways to prevent HIV transmission.”

“As health promotion organisations, we know that building an ongoing relationship with communities where we can have an ongoing conversation is an effective way to build health literacy, and in turn, influence behaviours like having a routine sexual health test and maintaining sexual health and wellbeing.

“Emen8 is focussed on delivering evidence based, high quality, accessible and culturally appropriate information to help gay men look after their own health, as well as the health of their sexual partners. Emen8 is an exciting opportunity for all of us to engage in a national conversation as a community, and we are proud to be doing this alongside VAC, who has been one of our closest partners in the HIV response for decades,” said Parkhill.

VAC CEO Simon Ruth said that the aim is to engage a broader range of people across Australia. “We’re constantly adapting our educational efforts to reflect advances in HIV prevention and treatment, but also shifts in culture and communications. We believe the approach we’re taking with Emen8 is a contemporary and innovative response to the way our community is connecting and consuming information.

“Emen8’s content is designed to reflect and connect with a broad spectrum of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” said Mr Ruth. “The aim is to complement existing efforts and also significantly increase the reach and impact of our collective efforts to provide information to all gay men – cis and trans – across Australia about HIV and STI prevention.”

Mr Parkhill added: “Digital technology has been helping ACON and VAC deliver health promotion outcomes for many years, and we’re looking forward to utilising this expertise on a national scale as we roll out Emen8.”

To view the new website and check out the content, visit: www.emen8.com.au for details.

Image: courtesy of ACON

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