Fearless Night - Innovating Sexual Health Education

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The Taiwan Love and Hope Association hosted its third Fearless Night during the Spring Festival. Fearless Night is an initiative to innovate and change the perception of public health education. The official promotion of HIV prevention methods was usually confined to the doctor’s office and street-corner outreach, however, through “Fearless night”, their promotion was brought to a nightclub.

Since the event was held over Chinese New Year holiday, we forecasted a terrible turnout, but our assumptions were proven completely wrong when an 800-strong crowd turned up. Those who attended were mostly young people, a varied mix of genders, sexuality and nationalities.

Having been on the planning team, I was amazed! We actually managed to get doctors to attend and share information on the latest medical advancements on HIV prevention on stage. All who attended had the chance to discuss prevention methods-related information with professionals while they partied during Thursday’s Rainbow Night. For me, this marked the “Fearless night” as a distinctive and significant creative change in public health education innovation.

Cheers to the Taiwan Love and Hope Association for breaking out of the old and tired ways of disease education promotion, and for breaking into one of Kaohsiung’s most famous and gay-friendly clubs for this special event. Cheers to them for providing an avenue for the Taiwanese youth to show up at a club and return home having had a good time with friends and equipped with the latest knowledge on HIV prevention, such as U=U (Undetectable = un-transmittable).

The Taiwan Love and Hope Association has made prevention methods fashionable and transformed the, once dry, topic of “disease prevention and education” into a topic that can be discussed in an open and comfortable manner. This innovative approach is a step towards enabling all of us to eventually overcome the stigma and discrimination that plagues our efforts in combatting the spread of HIV in Taiwan.

Established in 1999, the Taiwan Love and Hope Association is the first AIDS NGO in southern Taiwan. The Association works to prevent HIV transmission through gender-based human rights promotions and community-based organization. The association established its first LGBTQ center, “Sunshine Queer Center” in 2009 in Kaohsiung, followed by “South Rainbow Street NO.6” in Tainan in 2012, and in 2017, "HERO" — Healing, Empowerment, Recovery of Chemsex. HERO is an integrated health center dedicated to issues pertaining sexual health and substance use.

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Daniil Golubev