On July 27, 2018, Chicago’s Howard Brown Health unveiled a new song and music video, “Let’s Talk About PrEP,” intended to spread awareness about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the fight against HIV. Funded by a grant from the Illinois Community Health Foundation, the song is a reworking of Salt-N-Pepa’s classic hit “Let’s Talk About Sex.”
“Let’s Talk about PrEP” brings together a diverse LGBTQ cast. Chicago-based rapper KC Ortiz and Big Dipper are joined by local drag queen and advocate Lucy Stoole, DJs [X]P and All the Way Kay, comic Tien Tran, and more. It was produced by Imagination + Muscle Productions, directed by Tobin Del Coure, and filmed at a variety of Chicago locations, including Howard Brown’s Andersonville Brown Elephant resale shop. The rewritten lyric honors the HIV-advocacy legacy of Salt-N-Pepa’s original 1991 song. In 1993, they re-released it as “Let’s Talk About AIDS,” hoping to spark awareness of the HIV epidemic in mainstream audiences.
“This song is about conversation—we need to talk about PrEP and HIV in our community,” said KC Ortiz in a prepared release. “When we talk to our partners and our loved ones about sexual health, we are eliminating stigma. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about HIV. Let’s talk about PrEP.”
Erik Roldan, Director of Communications for Howard Brown Health, told A&U, “Howard Brown Health is working to increase the benefit and empowerment that PrEP has had on communities at risk for HIV. We made ‘Let’s Talk About PrEP’ with the goal of increasing awareness about PrEP in the communities that need more access to this important HIV prevention tool. Let’s talk about PrEP. The more we talk about it, the more we will decrease stigma around sex, love, and sexual health.”
This writer has especially fond memories of the first Howard Brown Clinic in Chicago. From 1978 until I left Chicago in August 1980, I volunteered at the Clinic on Tuesday nights, intaking clients for the Clinic’s STD treatment programs. I was impressed then by the Clinic’s very high level of professionalism and compassion toward clients—LGBTQ folks often faced incredibly rude, rough treatment and discrimination at places like public health clinics, but never at Howard Brown. And it makes me very happy to see them continuing to provide invaluable services to the community.
For more information, visit www.howardbrown.org. On Twitter, #LetsTalkAboutPrEP.
—Reporting by Hank Trout
Hank Trout, Editor at Large, edited Drummer, Malebox, and Folsom magazines in the early 1980s. A long-term survivor of HIV/AIDS (diagnosed in 1989), he is a thirty-eight-year resident of San Francisco, where he lives with his fiancé Rick. Follow him on Twitter @HankTroutWriter.