PrEP Around the World: #PrEP4Love Campaign
PrEP outreach is needed given that it works really well at raising awareness about preventing HIV. However, only a very small portion of people use it. The need for outreach is key. PrEP has to find its way into communities.
The #PrEP4Love campaign
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago has a PrEP working group. One tool that they used was advertising to get the word out about PrEP. The #PrEP4Love campaign was born in 2016 and was launched all over the city of Chicago.
It was especially targeted in poor Latino and Black neighborhoods in the city with billboards, bus stop posters, and online and social media efforts. It was a cool experiment in advertising PrEP in a big city.
Sex-positive images of people of color
I was curious when the ads first appeared. I probably encountered the poster in the doctor's office and it featured a Black couple in an embrace and it said #Prep4Love underneath it. It was great to see sex-positive images of people of color engaged in embracing postures.
The campaign included couples from various communities within the umbrella of the LGTQIA+ family and opposite-sex couples. It was really great to see it in the doctor's office. And, among the other sexual wellness materials, it really stood out.
That campaign didn't feel forced
It was refreshing that it was sex-positive as well. It was a campaign that didn’t force the subject but provided health information in a way that could enhance your experience of sex by including the aspect of sex-positivity in sexual health and HIV prevention. In many ways, it was like looking at reflections of yourself.
Sometimes it even reflected my attitudes about sex and reached me in a meaningful way. The message of "get tested" or "know your status" is forceful and makes me fear what the result may be. If I fear the result, I may not want to get tested at all.
Engaging members of the community
Overall the shift here is about reaching community members where they are. With this project, they engaged members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black women, and Latinx women to speak to each other about PrEP.
The outreach in public places led to their website, where they have resources available directly on the site to answer common questions about HIV and PrEP.
I would also suggest taking a look at their social media content under #prep4love. Their is an awesome parody of "Computer Love" by Chicago-based OB-GYN and rapper, Dr. Every Woman (aka Dr. Wendy McDonald).
A direct resource to learn about PrEP
Most importantly, the first resource is a phone number to a PrEP expert who can consult with you over the phone with whatever questions you have and can connect you with a PrEP provider.
By providing a genuine atmosphere of education and social interest, the message reaches more people and hopefully gets others to consider PrEP as a part of their regimen.
Creative and engaging conversations
By engaging the community in the conversation creatively, it is inviting people into the idea of PrEP as a part of the culture. It is seen as a way to keep our communities strong and healthy.
When one works with the community and the municipality’s public health officials, one can craft a campaign that fits the community and most importantly increases awareness.
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