Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Tuesdays are for HIV testing...

I was riding the Keihan bus home one recent evening in Hirakata-shi and saw the ad above. Close-up below.

When I was growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA) the local progressive rock station WLAV-FM had "Two for Tuesdays" which meant they played two songs by the same artist in a row on Tuesdays. In college Tuesdays often became a day for taking a trip to break up the monotony of classes. Now in Hirakata-shi it seems that Tuesdays are the day for getting an HIV test.

VAOJ has long been researching and posting on HIV/AIDS in Japan in general and for Deaf people in particular. To remind, HIV/AIDS continues to increase in Japan. One reason for this is a lack of any real public discourse and education about HIV/AIDS and safe sex. So I am always (pleasantly) surprised when I do see exceptions like the ad on the bus. While it is encouraging to see occasional ads, especially promoting getting tested for HIV (free of charge and anonymous), it is unfortunate that testing is so limiting (Tuesdays from 10:00 - 11:30 AM). I wanted to find out more information about the local situation in Hirakata-shi and found the following information. First, a post on Facebook from a student at my university.

Here is the text if you can't read it above:

HIVやAIDSは無関係と思っていました」~関西外国語大学インターンシップ学生からのメッセージ②】 関西外国語大学3回生の金田良介です。今回私は枚方市保健所でHIV検査をしました。私もHIV検査を受ける前はHIVやAIDSは自分には無関係だと思っていました。しかし、枚方市保健所でHIV検査を受けてからはHIVやAIDSに対する考えが変わりました。今回の検査で今まで関心がなかったHIVについて深く知ることが出来ましたし、検査などを通じて自分自身や大切な人たちをHIVから守っていきたいと思いました。枚方市保健所では、毎週火曜日10時~11時半にHIV検査を実施しています。無料・匿名で検査をしているので、誰でも安心してHIV検査できます。検査内容は保健師による問診の後、採血と尿検査をするだけ。もし、何か不安な事があれば保健師さんがサポートしてくれます。今、若者のHIV患者が増えています。自分は大丈夫だと思う前に、一度枚方市保健所でHIV検査してみてください。
I’m Kanata Ryosuke. I’m a student in KansaiGaidai. I did HIV testing at Hirakata City Public Health Center this time. Before examine HIV testing I thought that I’m nothing to do with HIV and AIDS. However, I change thinking about HIV and AIDS after do HIV testing. I thought I want to protect my body and partner from HIV through HIV testing. At every Tuesday AM10:00~AM11:30, we can do HIV testing at Hirakata City Public Health center. HIV testing is free and anonymous. The content of HIV test is very simple. We do drawing blood and urinalysis interviewed by public health nurse. If you feel anxious about HIV and AIDS, public health nurse will support you. Young HIV patient is increasing. Let's go to Hirakata City Public Health Center!

Source: https://www.facebook.com/city.hirakata.osaka/posts/1248886775172299:0

Again, encouraging stuff. Let's hope his classmates see this post. I also found information on the Hirakata-shi homepage about their HIV examinations.

Source: http://www.city.hirakata.osaka.jp.e.cu.hp.transer.com/vod/0000001639.html

It also includes this video produced by Hirakata-shi and featuring the city's mascot:

And there's another 30 second video featuring a kokeshi doll encouraging taking the HIV test.

Commentary: Information available - good! Information given by a giant mascot and a kokeshi doll - really? Well.. this is Japan and I suppose information is information. And while HIV/AIDS is serious and scary perhaps cute mascots and dolls might soften fear and encourage testing? Remember, the Japanese government uses Sailor Moon to help fight syphilis... Hirakata-shi is concerned about the increase in syphilis infections as well. Check this out:

Source: http://www.city.hirakata.osaka.jp.e.cu.hp.transer.com/0000013347.html

In case you are looking for information about HIV examinations and treatment in English, you might want to check out these sources:

HIV Testing and HIV/AIDS Counseling Map in Japan (in English and other languages): https://www.hivkensa.com/language/

Primary Care Tokyo - STD Testing and Treatment: http://pctclinic.com/std-testing-treatment

If you see ads about HIV/AIDS in Japan, or have any information or good resources, please do share with VAOJ on the blog, Facebook or Twitter. Let the discourse grow and stop HIV/AIDS!

No comments: