The highly erotic Fifty Shades trilogy explores the relationship between wealthy businessman Christian Grey and his young lover Anastasia Steele. The couples’ sadomasochistic sexual connection has become a topic of conversation on the tips of tongues around the world. Leveraging the wild success of the international best-sellers, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the San Francisco Department of Public Health have created “Many Shades of Gay”—a new public service campaign that encourages gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV regularly. The multimedia effort allows gay and bisexual men to create an avatar of themselves. This digital mini-me then sends reminders via email and text about HIV testing. He also finds testing locations and helps provide HIV-positive guys with information and ways to connect to care.
In Fifty Shades, Christian and Anastasia unabashedly embrace their predilections for pillow talk and bondage. In a parallel universe, “Many Shades of Gay” sends a similar message of acceptance: It doesn’t matter what you’re into—but you should get an HIV test every six months.