From now, on finding HIV/AIDS facts and testing services in India will be as easy as a couple of taps on a mobile phone, after AHF and a partnership of government agencies launched the HIV Education and Linkage to Prevention (HELP) app in August.
The new app is designed to increase awareness and risk perception, and encourage HIV testing. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), who helped develop the app, say it is expected to reach more than 110 million people across urban and rural settings.
“Technology and youth are inseparable… if we can use technology to guide and educate youth, it can open up endless opportunities to reach the young with authentic information…This app will bridge the gap, helping the youth to know their HIV status,” JP Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said.
The app has full support from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as well as NACO, who acknowledged AHF’s support in developing HELP. “We stand committed to prevent the young generation from HIV/AIDS,” added Bhanu Pratap Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
AHF President Michael Weinstein commended the joint efforts and spoke of HELP’s relevance to the 20×20 campaign.
“The collaboration is strategic as we intend to increase testing and reach the unreached through technology,” Weinstein said. “AHF’s support for this initiative is a part of our ’20×20 Call to Action’ for treating 20 million people globally by the end of 2020. This we feel can only be achieved by greater identification and technology-based initiatives which can generate awareness about HIV and, thereby, lead to greater testing uptake.”