New campaign highlights game changer in HIV prevention

ACON Is PrEP for you?ACON has released a bold new community education and mobilisation campaign focussing on new HIV prevention drug PrEP.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an antiretroviral medication taken by HIV negative people at high risk of acquiring HIV to prevent infection. Studies have shown that PrEP is extremely effective at preventing HIV transmission.

Called Is PrEP For You?, the new campaign highlights feelings of increased confidence and control that are associated with PrEP use – key reasons gay men and others at risk of HIV take PrEP.

The campaign is the latest installment of the Ending HIV initiative aimed at educating the community about the new and emerging science around HIV prevention. Is PrEP For You? seeks to engage those at risk of acquiring HIV to raise awareness of arguably one of the most significant developments in HIV prevention in 30 years.

“Access to PrEP is critical if we are to meet our goal of dramatically reducing the number of new HIV diagnoses by 2020,” said ACON President, Dr Justin Koonin. “PrEP is such an exciting development, but to really benefit from its potential, we need to increase the level of understanding within the community about what PrEP is, and how it can be accessed in NSW.”

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Australia’s largest PrEP study EPIC-NSW providing access to PrEP to 3,700 people who need it most. With the release of this campaign, we hope more people will learn about PrEP and consider whether it’s right for them.”

“We know from research studies including the PROUD Study in the UK, and the NSW PrELUDE Study, those taking a daily dose of PrEP report that it has helped reduce their fear and anxiety towards HIV.  Giving people the confidence to take complete control over their sexual health and look after the health of their partners lies at the heart of this campaign.  It isn’t something everyone will want to use, so through this campaign we’re asking people to find out more about PrEP and how they can access it.”

“We believe that by combining our communities’ use of PrEP, increasing rates of HIV testing, sustained use of condoms, and early uptake of treatment among people living with HIV, we may be able to deliver the biggest reduction in HIV transmission rates in NSW for more than two decades. This is an incredibly exciting possibility for our communities,” added Dr Koonin.

The Is PrEP For You? campaign also includes an execution that will assist heterosexual women who are in sero-discordant relationships to understand PrEP. ACON is working on this element of the campaign with PozHet NSW, a state-wide service for heterosexual people affected by HIV.

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Image: courtesy of ACON