The World Health Organization (WHO) organized the global networking zone event “Building Bridges to HIV Prevention and Testing” as part of the Global Village and Youth Programme Activities of the conference.
WHO, together with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Council of Churches-Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (WCC-EAA), UNITAID, PSI and SheDecides, will join forces to raise awareness in order to make HIV testing a reality for all.
The WHO invited the HIV GET Project team to present and launch the mobile game app "Battle in the Blood" during the conference. It will have several session activities at Global Village, including a "Battle in the Blood" Game Challenge.
Conference participants, mainly the youth, will be recruited as contestants to play the game. After the game challenge activity, a panel discussion with opportunities for question andanswer will follow after on the use of mobile games as games for health tools for HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, education and advocacy., according to Dr. Emmanuel S. Baja, DSc, who will represent the Philippines in the international conference.
Baja is a Department of Science and Technology (DOST) “Balik Scientist” and a Harvard School of Public Health Alumni, is a faculty of the Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines Manila and the Principal Investigator of the "Battle in the Blood" HIV Gaming, Engaging and Testing (HIV GET) Project; a Newton-Agham Grant funded by both the Philippine (PCHRD, DOST) and UK (MRC) governments in collaboration with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Cooperating Agencies of the project are the Department of Health (DOH), the local governments of Quezon City; and Davao City, Love Yourself Inc., Engaging Tool for Communication in Health (ETCH) and Extra Mile Studios Ltd.
The HIV Gaming, Engaging, and Testing (HIV GET) project developed a digital HIV advocacy gaming application to help address the barriers to HIV testing and counselling (HTC) in the Philippines.
Dubbed "Battle in the Blood" (#BitB), the app is a unique puzzle and turn-based combat mobile game. It aims to influence social norms, knowledge and attitude surrounding HIV/AIDs and to challenge the belief that you can no longer live a long and fulfilling life after a positive diagnosis. It contrasts this with the risk to your health and future by delaying or refusing, testing and treatment services.
The app, designed specifically for the Philippines context, is the first game to address barriers to HTC services. "Battle in the Blood (#BitB)" targets adolescent (aged 10-19) and young adults (aged 20 - 24). The focus during the design and development of the game was to make certain that the game was acceptable, relevant, and engaging specifically among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) women.
The mobile gaming app was official launch at Davao City last December 1, 2017 in time for the World AIDs Day Celebration. The mobile game app is free to download at Google Play and Apple Store and can be played offline once downloaded.