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Technical Advisor for Microwebsite on Information and Support relating to Drugs Use among Gay Men in Thailand (Consultant)

1.  BACKGROUND

 

1.1. ABOUT APCOM

Founded in 2007, APCOM is a coalition of members – governments, UN partners, non-profits and community based organisations – from Asia and the Pacific. APCOM represent a diverse range of interests working together to advocate on, highlight and prioritise HIV and human rights issues that affect the lives of gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and other communities affected by HIV in Asia and the Pacific. Our goals are to improve the well-being of the key affected communities in the region through increased investment, coverage and quality of sexual health services and human rights protection.

 

1.2. ABOUT TESTBKK

Started in 2014, TestBKK is a pilot and Bangkok-based campaign of TestXXX, APCOM’s flagship regional sexual health campaign targeting young gay men in Asia-Pacific cities with high HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex men (MSM) demography. TestBKK aims to increase the HIV prevention, support and care service uptakes, while also empower young Thai gay men to exercise their sexual health and rights. By the end of 2017, TestBKK has contributed to more than 14,000 HIV service uptakes, such as HIV and STI testing, PrEP initiation, and ART retention, by young MSM in Bangkok. Currently funded by Elton John AIDS Foundation and LINKAGES Thailand led by FHI 360 Thailand funded by PEPFAR and USAID, TestBKK has more than 60,000 Facebook Page follower, 38,000 YouTube channel subscribers and 9,000 monthly website visitors.

 

 

1.3. ABOUT ILLICIT DRUG USE AND HIV SITUATION AMONG GAY MEN IN BANGKOK

While the emerging gay communities may potentially reduce gay-related social stigma and enhance health information sharing, they can also predispose gay men to certain risk behaviors. One such example is the consumption of illicit drugs such as ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine (meth).

A 2017 study reveals that dating apps among Thai gay men, as an instance, significantly increased motivational substance use through messaging from their counterparts. The same study concludes that Thai gay men who reported being involved in substance use also reported avoiding use of condoms during intercourse.

A number of other studies have documented the risk of crystal meth use among gay men includes increased sexual risk taking, increased episodes of STI and three times increased risk for HIV infection. Gay men living with HIV who use crystal meth are at seven-fold higher risk for missing ART doses and 3.5 times higher risk for developing HIV resistance.

According to UNAIDS latest data, almost 1 out of 3 MSM in Bangkok is living with HIV, only 69% of Thai MSM reported consisted condom use during intercourse, and the national HIV testing coverage only reaches 23% of Thai MSM.

 

1.4. ABOUT HARM REDUCTION

Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs. Examples of harm reduction practice include provision of information relating to drug consumption, syringes and needle exchange program and drug replacement therapy.

 

APCOM believe the following principle central to harm reduction strategies:

  • accepts, for better and/or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimise its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them;
  • understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe addiction to full abstinence, and acknowledged that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others;
  • calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive delivery of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing associated harm;
  • recognises that poverty, classism, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex and/or gender-based discrimination and/or violence and other social inequalities affect both individuals’ vulnerability to and capacity for effectively coping with drug-related harm.

  

 

2. SERVICES REQUIRED

The Consultant is expected to assess, edit and update the draft of the text content for a micro-website containing information, support and services to Thai gay men relating to alcohol and drugs. The draft of the text content has been developed by APCOM in both English and Thai. The draft has segregated 14 substances (categorized into “Section”), and each is explained into several sub-sections. See the table below to see the content structure of the draft.

 

#

IDENTIFIED SUBSTANCES (SECTIONS)

SUBSECTIONS*

1

Alcohol

a)      overview

b)      how does the drug/substance work

c)      factors affecting the substance’s intoxication/inebriation (the high)

d)      short term effects

e)      long term effects

f)       comedown

g)      safety (how to minimise the harm resulted from using the substance)

h)      safer injecting (how to minimise the harm specifically resulted from substance’s injection/slamming activity)

i)       overdose (what causes the overdose, sign of overdose and what to do when someone is showing the sign of overdose)

j)       cautions on using the substance as part of sexual activity (chemsex)

k)      consequences of mixing the substance with other illicit drugs

l)       interaction of the substance with PrEP

m)     interaction of the substance with PEP

n)      interaction of the substance with HIV medication (for recreational drug user who is living with HIV)

o)      signs of addiction

p)      counselling and support available in Bangkok to cope with the addiction

q)      withdrawal symptoms

2

 LSD

3

Psychoactive Mushroom (Magic Mushroom)

4

Amyl Nitrate (Poppers)

5

Steroids

6

Cocaine   

7

Ecstasy/MDMA

8

Heroin

9

Ketamine

10

Meth

11

Cannabis

12

Synthetic Cannabis

13

GHB/GBL (gamma hydroxybutyrate)

14

Methadone

15

Ya-ba

*) not all subsections apply to every substances

 

The micro-website will be embedded into testBKK.org website. The review conducted by the Consultant will explore in detail the Thai translation and contextualization of the content, legal assessment of the information provision, and the appraisal of harm reduction counseling and services existing in Bangkok.

 

 

3. SCOPE OF WORK

Specifically, the Consultant shall undertake the following activities:

  1. a) Ensure that the vocabularies (i.e., drug’s name and their slang terms, the informal term of consumption methods) in the content draft fit into Thai settings
  2. b) Copyedit the content draft so that it becomes concise and digestible by young audiences (18 to 29 years old), in which medical and technical terms should be kept as minimum as possible
  3. c) Copyedit the content draft so that it becomes non-stigmatising towards people who use drug and gay men
  4. d) Collect scientific findings on the substances’ interaction with antiretroviral medications, including PEP and PrEP (i.e., an explanation whether or not consuming the substance will lower the efficacy of the antiretroviral drug one is taking, or whether or not the chemical within antiretroviral medication will amplify the short-term effect of the substance)
  5. e) Suggest addendums to the draft in order for the draft to be more comprehensive and applicable to Thai setting (i.e., adding another kind of illicit substance, supplementing another subsection in particular or all of the main section, changing the order of subsections, etc)
  6. f) Enlist existing Thai laws and policies relating to illicit drug consumption, harm reduction and provision of information relating to illicit drug use
  7. g) Assess the final draft’s compliance to Thai laws and policies
  8. h) Enlist existing counseling and support for drugs addiction available in Bangkok
  9. i) Enlist harm reduction implementer or substance abuse intervention service providers (i.e, organisations providing needle exchange programme and/or drug substitution therapy) available in Bangkok

 

4. DELIVERABLES

  1. a) Copyedited and updated final draft of the text content in two formats: (1) track-changed and (2) clean versions in Microsoft Word or Google Doc format
  2. b) List of Thai slang glossaries relating to drugs use presented along with their English translation and international phonetic alphabet (IPA)
  3. c) Summary of substances’ interaction with PrEP, PEP and HIV medication taken by people living with HIV along with the collected Thai and/or English scientific findings (in form of digital or physical copy)
  4. d) Archive of Thai laws and policies relating to illicit drug consumption, harm reduction and provision of information relating to illicit drug use
  5. e) Directory of counseling and support for drugs addiction available in Bangkok, which includes the name of the service provider, the address and contact number, the list of provided services, and the operating hours
  6. f) Directory of harm reduction implementer or substance abuse intervention service providers available in Bangkok, which includes the name of the service provider, the address and contact number, the list of provided services and the operating hours.

5. CONSULTANCY PAYMENT

Based on the number of days proposed by the consultant and further negotiated and agreed with APCOM, the fees will be paid against satisfactory deliverables as per the below schedule:

 

Deliverables

Payment

Deliverables (a) and (b)

40%

Deliverables (c)

30%

Deliverables (d), (e) and (f)

30%

 

6. KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL REQUIREMENT

Education:

Bachelor or Master Degree on health, health policy and/or social service is preferred. However, individual with more than a year of professional experience on harm reduction setting without a bachelor or master degree is encouraged to also apply.

Professional Experience:

  • Minimum a year of professional working experience in mental health, harm reduction or substance abuse intervention settings
  •     Has experienced working with or for key HIV-affected populations such as gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), people who  

     inject drugs and sex workers

  • Has experienced in writing publication, articles or any other written knowledge relating to mental health, drug abuse or harm reduction in either English or Thai language

Language Proficiency

  • Native/fluent Thai speaker
  •     For non-Thai foreigner applying for this position, having a proof or certificate indicating a result from a proficiency test of Thai as a foreign language is preferred
  • Fluent in English is preferred

Functional/Technical Knowledge:

  • Demonstrated expertise and understanding of law and legal reviews and policy and programmatic analysis
  • Ability to analyse and consolidate information from multiple sources
  • Excellent written communication skills in Thai

  

 

7.  PREPARING APPLICATION

 

To apply for this position, the applicant should submit his/her CV and Cover Letter and other relevant documents to the APCOM Secretariat by emailing JoinUS@apcom.org no later than the deadline of this vacancy.

 

In the cover letter, the applicant is required to state how his/her skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications relating to the position. The applicant should also mention the number of the proposed days to finish the outputs mention in Section 4: Deliverables in his/her cover letter.

 

Documents to be submitted along with the CV and Cover Letter may include the copy of the knowledge product/publication/resources relating to relating to mental health, drug abuse or harm reduction that has been produced/written by the applicant. If the resource(s) is/are available online, the applicant may mention the URL(s) of the resource(s) in his/her cover letter instead.

 

How to apply:

Applications are welcome until the closing date of 4th July 2018, 23:59 hrs, Bangkok. The

applications should contain a letter of interest, a short description on how the research will be

conducted and the CV or CVs of the consultants. All application materials have to be submitted in English and should be sent to JoinUS@apcom.org .

 

 

For questions or enquiries for the position, please contact APCOM’s HR Officer Rangsit Sanguansak at Rangsits@apcom.org

Contact :


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