Introduction of innovative ways of carrying out HIV prevention activities is a key added value of EpiC Nepal. EpiC Nepal has integrated information, communication and technology (ICT) into routine HIV service delivery, with strategic activities to explore, adapt, test, and recommend for scale up innovative ICT strategies to improve the program’s online reach and engage key populations (KPs) and people living with HIV (PLHIV). These KPs include sex workers (male, female and transgender people), transgender women, gay men, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).
Traditionally, the outreach and community support services have been using one-to-one or group methods to engage key populations in physical hotspots and networks. These efforts require mobilizing outreach workers to do the legwork to maximize reach in KP communities and have typically resulted in about half of reached clients electing to receive an HIV test. It is therefore, the use of ICT is highly sought and recommended innovation for fast-tracking the HIV response. The National HIV Strategic Plan (2016-2021) suggests e-health and m-health have transformative potential to improve health literacy and offer access to healthcare systems at the press of the button. EpiC Nepal through MeroSathi intends to provide a platform where the KPs and PLHIV can have access to all HIV-related services in Nepal.
MeroSathi in Nepali, which translates to “my friend” is an online reservation system that aims to provide the most convenient means to make reservations for HIV testing services, while handling your data to ensure anonymity and privacy.
MeroSathi first gives you a short questionnaire to learn about your risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Next, MeroSathi helps you to locate and plan a visit to a testing clinic. The website shows you a list of the EpiC Nepal-supported clinics that are nearest and preferable to you, asks you to choose a convenient time, then collects a few more pieces of information to plan your reservation – and then your reservation is complete. Just take note of your reservation time, and come in!
MeroSathi is made possible with the help of USAID and PEPFAR funding to the EpiC Nepal. The EpiC Nepal team held a series of consultations with the community to identify the gaps in reaching populations with services online. MeroSathi was made to bridge these gaps and provide access to HIV related services to all online.
Throughout your use of MeroSathi, you will be asked questions to help you learn about your risk for HIV. Your phone number will enable us to keep in touch with you for any support or information regarding HIV and STIs related services that you might require. Your phone or computer will ask you if you can supply your geographic location information, which is used to determine the clinics closest to you.
Note that the data collected in this website is for program purposes and will not be used to determine your sexual behavior and/or identity. When this website requests your location data, risk data, or testing data, it will only be used to guide our recommendations for you, to give you the best possible clinic options and to understand overall reach of this system online. We will ensure confidentiality and anonymity of your data.
If you would prefer to talk to our HIV and sexual and reproductive health experts and link with the outreach staff, who is trained to talk about peoples’ sexual and reproductive health questions, we suggest that you can email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The easiest way to find HIV testing services is by going through the steps of the MeroSathi website. After you answer the questions and learn about your risk, you will see a button to make a reservation for testing. You are shown the clinics nearest to you and you can set up a reservation to go.
Other services like prevention, treatment or any other sexual and reproductive health information, please email at email@example.com , then we will help you connect to services near you.
You can learn more about HIV from many organizations that provide information on the Internet or you can follow EpiC in facebook, twitter and YouTube channel:
Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. Treatment for HIV (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) is free of cost in Nepal.
Connect the following resources for treatment related information in Nepal:
National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC)
National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal (NAP+N)
National Federation of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (NFWLHA)