[dropcap]A[/dropcap]PLA Health and Wellness (APLAHW) has rolled out a new campaign to raise awareness about sexual health and the benefits of PrEP as an HIV prevention tool option. Targeted to Los Angeles residents, the “It Feels Good” ads have begun popping up on buses and rail lines around town. A video was also produced for on-line platforms, and the campaign introduces “It Feels Good” as a hashtag in order to encourage others to respond via social media. APLAHW hopes the public will become educated about the prevention option and seek additional information.
As an extension of APLAHW’s mission to educate and break down barriers to care, the campaign features spokespeople offering their personal responses about why an empowered approach to sexual health “feels good”: “It feels good protecting myself against HIV with PrEP,” “It feels good telling my friends that PrEP helps protect them against HIV,” and “It feels good discussing PrEP with my doctor,” for example. PrEP is a one-pill-a-day regimen that has been shown to be up to ninety-nine-percent effective in stopping the transmission of the virus. Used in conjunction with condoms, PrEP greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission.
Awash in vibrant colors, the ad campaign features the photography of one of A&U’s Senior Editors, Sean Black, who participates in many HIV-related projects, like this one, outside of his work at the magazine.
“We wanted the ads to have a positive tone and message, while also delivering information that makes it easy for people who have questions to get answers,” Terry Smith, associate director of prevention at APLA Health & Wellness, said in a prepared release. “PrEP awareness is on the rise, but many individuals still don’t know there’s this important HIV prevention tool and that they may easily be able to get it through a medical provider. Removing barriers to PrEP access is very important in the fight against HIV.”
APLA Health & Wellness offers an array of services that engage individuals in care and provide culturally competent services, specifically focusing on low-income LGBT people of color living in Los Angeles County. While APLAHW provides general HIV primary care, oral health services, mental health counseling, and testing, among many others, it also provides PrEP-focused services such as PrEP counseling and management and helping clients navigate resources to cover costs. Currently, PrEP services may be accessed at two of its two health centers—the Gleicher/Chen Health Center in Baldwin Hills in South L.A. and the Long Beach Health Center in Long Beach. APLAHW has other area clinics as well as a mobile dental facility.
The first phase of the “It Feels Good” campaign runs through March; the second phase, featuring additional ads and videos, will begin in May and end in July.
To learn more about PrEP and APLA Health & Wellness’s PrEP services in Los Angeles County, contact the organization by phone at (844) 830-PrEP or visit www.aplahw.org/prep.