“F*ck w/out Fear, PrEP Is Here” is the sex-positive message being delivered in an HIV prevention campaign by the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The goal is to use “raw and real language” to get the word out about Truvada as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is a daily pill to prevent someone from contracting HIV.
“It’s widely believed that a two-pronged approach is what will be most effective at ending the transmission of HIV in the U.S.,” said Robert Bolan, MD, the center’s chief medical officer, in a press release about the campaign. “Quickly linking newly diagnosed HIV-positive people to care can reduce or eliminate the risk they can transmit the virus; it’s the same treatment effect for people who have been living with HIV for a while or a long time. Then if HIV-uninfected people who are most at-risk of infection successfully protect themselves from the virus, we can effectively end HIV transmission here. Because the availability of condoms alone hasn’t been enough to stop HIV, we’re excited about the promise of PrEP.”
According to the press release, “those most at risk of HIV are gay and bisexual youth of color and transgender women, but a recent study by APLA [AIDS Project Los Angeles] Health of young gay and bisexual men revealed that Latino and African-American youth are the least likely to know about PrEP and less than 10 percent are using it. Those who do know about PrEP frequently have misconceptions about it, including the belief that it’s not effective or safe and that it’s unaffordable.”
More information can be found on the campaign’s website, PrEPHere.org, which also includes an HIV risk-assessment tool. Answer 13 simple questions and you’ll get an HIV risk score that could help determine whether PrEP is right for you (though, of course, speaking with a counselor or professional is also advised).
The campaign is kicking off January 6 with more than the billboard and the website launch. According to the press release, the campaign will include various events and grassroots advertising, in Spanish and English, to reach those most at risk, including:
- Outreach through: community events, Center programs that particularly serve transgender women and young men of color and the Center’s Mi Centro facility in Boyle Heights.
- Geo-targeted digital advertising and print ads
- “Paint the Town Blue”—On January 8, the Center will launch the campaign in partnership with bars in West Hollywood and Hollywood. Dozens of staff and volunteers will circulate through bars providing patrons with information about PrEP. The blue theme of the night hints at the blue color of the PrEP pill.
- Banjee Ball sponsorship—A vogue dance and runway event with live music performances. A cultural movement birthed out of the Black LGBT community, Banjee Ball has become a cherished space for young gay and bisexual men and transgender women of color.
- Andrew Christian “Fearless F*cker” T-Shirts—An Andrew Christian–designed “Fearless F*cker” T-shirt will be available for purchase at his flagship boutique in West Hollywood. All net profits from the sale of the $25 T-shirt support the Center’s PrEP services.
For more POZ articles about PrEP, click here.