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“Break The Chains” is coming back stronger.

©break the chains
©break the chains

Blogmensgo, March 14th, 2013.  The HIV prevention campaign “Break The Chains” is coming back stronger.  
The HIV prevention campaign “Break The Chains”, which was first carried out in Zürich and Geneva in 2012, is launched this year in the whole of Switzerland. The campaign aims to refrain the spread of HIV among gay men. The first edition was a success. According to a survey from the University of Lausanne, around 80% of the gay men in Zürich had heard about “Break The Chains”. The App for 2013 is now available to download. With regard to the new infections in 2012, which increased among gay men, the initiators consider the campaign as an major tool to break the spread of the virus.
“Men who are aware that they have spread HIV is nowadays very seldom. Most of the transmissions occur during the so-called Primary HIV infection phase among men who have recently infected themselves and are still unaware of their HIV status. In the primary phase, the viral load is extensively higher than in the later phase” says the project manager Andreas Lehner. “Break The Chains” aims to prevent new infections among the campaign’s participants during the whole month of April. This way, the chains of HIV transmission can be broken.

High awareness among gay men:
According to the Gay Survey 2012 of the University Institute of Social and Preventive medicine in Lausanne, around 80% of the gay men in the area of Zürich heard of the campaign “Break The Chains”. In the area of Geneva, this proportion reaches 75% and 70% for the rest of Switzerland. 54, 7% of the gay men in Zürich felt concerned by “Break The Chains” and knew its messages. The number of HIV test carried out after the campaign increased by 17,9%.
The Checkpoints Zürich, Basel, Vaud, and Geneva, who launch “Break The Chains” under the commission of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and with the collaboration of the Swiss AIDS Federation, see in the good results of the campaign the sign that it is well targeted. In that sense, this campaign should be repeated several years.

A community based campaign with a Smartphone App.   
This year again, “Break The Chains” will call gay men to adapt their risk behavior consequently during the month of April, and take an HIV test in May. Experts believe that the number of new HIV infections can be reduced this way. A Smartphone App delivers all the instructions on how to commit in the campaign. The App is now available to download for free on www.breakthechains.ch.

“Break The Chains” is supported by the gay community. It is a campaign developed and launched by gay men for gay men. As a result, the campaign is highly accepted in the community. In addition, over 50 volunteers from whole of Switzerland have committed this year to be ambassadors for “Break The Chains” and its goals.

More information is available on www.breakthechains.ch.

Break The Chains is a health campaign that aims to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the gay community. It is financially supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health and it is part of its Urgent Action Plan. It is carried out by the Checkpoints Zürich, Basel, Vaud and Geneva in collaboration with the Swiss AIDS Federation. Its goal is to avoid once a year any new HIV-infection during the month of April, and motivate gay men to take an HIV test in May in order to diagnose HIV-positive men unaware of their HIV status. Every gay man is motivated in March to participate and declare in April its commitment in the campaign. Half of the new HIV infections in Switzerland concerns presently gay men. Without an additional campaign it is estimated that the number of HIV-positive men would double by 2020. !
Checkpoint – Health centers for men who have sex with men There are currently four Checkpoints in Switzerland (Basel, Geneva, Lausanne and Zürich). The Swiss Checkpoint concept is an international model for similar projects in Cologne, Munich, Barcelona and Athens. They offer HIV tests and tests for other communicable sexual diseases (STI tests), one to one  and couple counseling, as well as peer-to-peer projects for people with HIV and young gay men. Other important actions are the mobile testing and interventions in the gay scene. More information on your Checkpoint, your local offer and schedule:  www.checkpoint-zh.ch, www.checkpoint-bs.ch, www.checkpoint-ge.ch, checkpoint-vd.ch.

Matt / MensGo

Via press release of 13 March 2013

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