WATCH: Are Black Gay Men On Board With Using PrEP?
BY Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez
July 29 2014 9:55 AM ET UPDATED: July 29 2014 9:55 AM ET
The National Minority AIDS Council has launched PrEPare for Life in honor of the two-year anniversary of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) — the only pill that prevents HIV transmission — being approved by the FDA.
The videos, along with the other resources provided online, aim to amplify the voices of young gay men of color and allow them to share what they think about PrEP's potential to impact their health, enhance their sexuality, and improve their quality of life. PrEPare for Life also incorporates community training into these resources to ensure that those who serve young gay men of color have the appropriate skill and knowledge to include PrEP in their services or discussions. NMAC hopes that organizations will utilize these new resources and videos to engage their members or clients about PrEP and discuss whether it is a good option for them.
"I would definitely encourage them to have a conversation about PrEP and explore it as an option for them," Devin says in the "PrEP in the Community" video. "I do think that, for black gay men, this can radically change how HIV affects our community."
"After fairly little public dicourse following immediately after its approval, discucsions around PrEP within the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities about have really begun heating up this year," wrote Moises Agosto, NMAC's Director of Treatment Education, Adherence and Mobilization, about the campaig. "Unforuntaley, much of it has focused on the controversial statements made by a few PrEP opponents, while rarely acknowleding just how broad the consesus really is within the public health community that is extremely supportive of PrEP as a much-needed additional intervention. While the community has been squabbling over PrEP for some time now, tensions reached their peak in late May, when the Centers for Diseae Control and Prevention (CDC) released their PrEP guidelines for providers. There is certainly value in engaging in a larger and more inclusive debate about where we should be targeting and focusing our collective (and limited) resources in order to ensure their greatest impact. But with infection rates continuing to rise among gay men, and increasing dramatically among gay men of color, that debate cannot be an excuse for delaying efforts to educate our communities about PrEP as an additional, effective and potentially powerful tool in our comprehensive approach to HIV prevention."
"These dynamic peer-based educational videos are meant to increase awareness and reduce stigma," reads the NMAC's website. "They provide an opportunity for young gay men of color to speak for themselves, openly and honestly, about issues such as access, knowledge, stigma, community, and sexuality."
The move comes on the heels of both the CDC and the World Health Organization coming out in support of PrEP, urging men who have sex with men to take the preventative drug.
"For the first time, WHO strongly recommends men who have sex with men consider taking antiretroviral medicines as an additional method of preventing HIV infection alongside the use of condoms," read the WHO Guidelines. "Rates of HIV infection among men who have sex with men remain high almost everywhere and new prevention options are urgently needed."
For its part, the NMAC is trying to tackle the limited access to PrEP, especially in some minority communities. The nonprofit hopes the conversation around PrEP use among minority gay men will help gain greater accessibility to PrEP for all those at risk.
"Right now, if I wanted to get PrEP it’d be pretty difficult because Medicaid has not been expanded in Georgia," Mickey from Atlanta, Ga., explains in NMAC’s "Access to PrEP" video. “And there [are], I guess, private insurance options I have to go through but, I don’t know, right now it just seems like it’s a huge cost for me."
Watch "Access to PrEP" below.