By Nyesha Stone
The Medical College of Wisconsin and the Center for AIDS Intervention Research found that black men in Milwaukee are diagnosed with HIV four times the rate compared to white men. The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin decided to do something by bringing awareness to a daily pill that prevents HIV.
ARCW launched its first PrEP marketing campaign in the city of Milwaukee. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis,) is a prescription medication. When taken as prescribed and used along with other safe sex practices such as condoms and regular HIV/STI testing, PrEP reduces the risk of contracting HIV up to 99 percent, according to PrEP’s site.
In 2017, 118 people were newly diagnosed with HIV and 83 percent of the new diagnoses were among people of color. Within the next few months, PrEP ads will be across the city, on digital billboards on I-94, in movie theaters, online and in newspapers to ensure the city knows about PrEP.
Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes came in support of the campaign and to let the LGBTQ community, specifically men of color and black transwomen know that they matter and have support in the Capitol.
“HIV is not an issue people like to openly discuss,” said Barnes. “But it’s one we need to pay attention to.”
“It’s important we create an environment where no one is judged,” he said. Barnes said one’s sex, what they identify as, who they like or what they look like should not matter when it comes to their access to preventive care, or any care.
The campaign’s research was built off of ARCW’s 2018 quantitative research based on men of color in the LGBTQ community and black transgender women.
ARCW PrEP Program Coordinator Imani Sloan said the theme of the campaign is value and worth. Taking PrEP is knowing your value and worth because you’re protecting yourself and others, she said.
PrEP is for anyone sexually active and HIV negative, regardless of age, gender identity or sexual orientation, according to PrEP’s site.
Sloan said the campaign is giving black transwomen a positive platform.
“[It’s] messages tailored specifically to black transwomen,” said Sloan. “We don’t get ourselves that often,” in ads or any media, she added.
ARCW has nine videos to go along with their PrEP campaign, which can be found at their site. For more information on PrEP, visit https://www.stayprepdup.com/.