Submitted by Nigel, aka LondonSubNigel (3), 23 November 2015
For this year's World AIDS Day, BLUF is adding some features to our website that will help members learn about PrEP - Pre Exposure Prophylaxis. It's a drug regime that, taken by HIV negative people, can help to ensure that they stay that way.
It's one of the biggest recent advances in the field of HIV medicine, and the World Health Organisation has recommended that it be made available to people at higher risk of HIV infection, including gay men.
Even so, a lot of people remain unclear about what it is, or whether or not it might be relevant to them. Some people have even attacked it as a 'party drug', giving people licence to have more sex. At BLUF, we don't believe in judging people on how often, or with whom, they have sex, as long as everyone consents to it. But we do believe we should help people to get information.
So, today we are adding a new 'tag' to our site. Tags are items that people can add to their profiles, to indicate interests or other things - for example, if they're a top or a bottom, or if they have a guest room, or like bondage. These always appear in the language of the person viewing a profile, helping to break down barriers between members, even if they don't speak the same language.
For a while now, we have had tags that people can use to indicate their status and safer sex preferences, and for a number of years, we have also had a 'poz friendly' tag that people can add to their profiles too - I think little things like that can help fight the stigmatisation of postive people that is all too often found on online profiles, and which I talked about in a recent blog post.
The new tag we've added to the site simply says 'PrEP' - I thought hard about whether it should say 'taking PrEP' or 'on PrEP' but decided that by just using it on its own, people can use the tag simply to raise awareness, even if they themselves aren't on PrEP - and in doing that, it will hopefully spark conversations and help more people find out about their options.
Additionally, and to help people find out more, when members view a profile that has the PrEP tag added to it, they will also see a link below the list of tags, with the text 'What is PrEP?' in the language that they're using to view the BLUF site. Below you can see examples of how an English and French user would see the same profile.
Behind the link will be, as far as we are able to source it, information about PrEP in the country and language of the person who clicks the link. What does that mean? It means that if I put the tag on my own profile, and a BLUF member in the UK clicks it, they'll see a page about PrEP in the UK.
If a Canadian user clicks it, they'll see information from Catie.ca in either English or French, depending on the language they use to view BLUF. US users will see info from the CDC, Germans info from AidsHilfe, and so on.
So far, we have around a dozen different combinations of language and country. Where we can't find an exact match, we'll show people information in the language they use on BLUF, so English speakers will read information from the UK - the bulk of our members are in Europe, so that makes more sense than sending them to the CDC - German speakers will be directed to AidsHilfe, and French to Aides.org.
If you know of good links to information about PrEP, in any language, please do let us know, and we will add them to ensure that as many of our members as possible can read about it on a site local to them, and in their own language.
Right now, as we launch this new initiative, these are the resources to which we're directing people. Together, they provide local information for over 80% of our members in their own language:
I hope that BLUF members find this new feature useful - and that we can all work together to help keep each other informed, not just for World AIDS Day, but every day.
article updated April 2015, to add Polish info updated March 2017, to reflect design changes on the site