Los Angeles LGBT Center Launches “Prep’d AF” Campaign Featuring Milan Christopher
On June First, the Los Angeles LGBT Center joined forces with openly gay rapper, actor, and model Milan Christopher to encourage those most at-risk (gay/bisexual Black men) to be “PrEP’d AF” against HIV. Following the success of last year’s “F*ck w/out Fear” HIV prevention campaign, “PrEP’d AF” continues to raise awareness for PrEP as a safe and effective once-daily medicine that has been proven to reduce the risk of HIV Infection between 92-99 percent, if used as prescribed.
According to the CDC: “Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada, is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.”
In a press release received from the Los Angeles LGBT Center: “A study from AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) Health, gay and bisexual youth of color and transgender women are most at risk for new HIV infections and are least likely to know about PrEP. Also, with the CDC’s estimate of one in two gay or bisexual Black men and one in four gay or bisexual Latino men contracting HIV sometime in their lives, ‘PrEP’d AF’ is now more important than ever.”
“In communities of color, there is so much stigma around sex, being gay, and HIV that people are scared to even talk about PrEP—and many more don’t even know about it,” said Milan, who uses PrEP. “I’m proud to be a part of this campaign because I want PrEP to be something we can talk about in the open so, ultimately, we can stop the spread of HIV and save lives.”
Chief of staff of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Darrel Cummings, stated in the press release that “[w]e are so pleased to have Milan as a spokesperson for ‘PrEP’d AF’ to raise awareness for PrEP and to help dispel stigma and misconceptions that may be preventing people from taking advantage of this important opportunity to stop the spread of HIV. Communities of color continue to be the hardest hit by new HIV infections, making the awareness and accessibility of PrEP an ever more urgent priority.”
The introduction of PrEP into the market has not been without its hiccups. Introduced back in 2012, the original marketing focused only on those people who were in monogamous relationships. It is now more known that PrEP should be used by anyone who has a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV based on sexual activity and the community in which they are having sex. With this also came stigma, as many perceived the drug to be used by those who are sexually deviant, when in reality it is about sexual responsibility and accountability.
The Center and Milan want to convey the message that taking PrEP to help protect yourself shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of, and that it can be integrated into daily life. “PrEP’d AF” will also combat misconceptions about the safety and effectiveness of PrEP and the belief that it’s unaffordable. In reality, PrEP is now covered by most insurance plans and, for those who are uninsured, the Center can help make it affordable through patient assistance programs. After a free PrEP consultation, which can be scheduled online at PrEPHere.org, most people will be able to leave their visit with a prescription.