Our new campaign: PrEP Protects
If you follow us social media, you would have seen us going on about our new PrEP campaign, PrEP Protects. PrEP Protects launched earlier this month during Black History Month. The campaign aims to drive up awareness of the HIV prevention pill among black African communities.
PrEP – also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis – is a pill you take before and after sex that greatly reduces the risk of getting HIV (it’s almost 100% effective when taken as prescribed). Studies have proven that PrEP is highly effective at stopping HIV: as long as it is taken as it should be, PrEP offers you almost 100% protection from HIV.
The latest Public Health England stats show that nearly half (44%) of new HIV diagnoses among heterosexuals in the UK are Black African men and women – despite making up less than 2% of the British population.
However, access to HIV prevention pill Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among Black Africans through the NHS England run trial shows worryingly low uptake – with data revealing just 4% of those accessing the drug are from groups other than gay and bisexual men. Black African people are also less likely to access PrEP, and there is evidence of a need to increase awareness of PrEP. Because you can’t access something you don’t know anything about!
One of the key barriers to increasing access is PrEP being delivered exclusively via sexual health clinics. It’s believed that availability in GP surgeries, maternity care services and pharmacies would help to increase both awareness and uptake. Similarly, having information about PrEP in a range of different languages is also vital.
We launched this campaign to ensure Black Africans aren’t left behind in the fight against HIV and increase awareness of PrEP. Led by those from these communities, the campaign vibrantly showcases the benefits of being proactive about your sexual health. It will reach different Black African populations through influencers, relevant Facebook groups, targeted digital ads and outdoor posters and billboards.
‘Despite the way it is often presented, PrEP is highly effective at stopping HIV for anyone regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity,’ says Head of Health Improvement Programmes, Takudzwa Mukiwa.
‘It’s vital that message is heard by different communities as that’s the only way we’ll address deep sexual health inequalities and meet our goal of ending HIV transmissions within the next 10 years. Because progress that’s not felt by everyone – no matter who you are or where you are – isn’t progress at all.’
Answer some short questions about yourself and your sexual activities and we’ll recommend whether PrEP is right for you.