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Will Talking About PrEP on Tumblr and Snapchat Work?

In an Effort To Reach Women and Blacks, Gilead Engages

Attempting to reach underserved markets, Gilead Sciences plans to use popular dating sites, Tumblr and Snapchat as part of its new marketing strategy

Studies have shown that the use of PrEP is phenomenally low in African-American and Latinx communities, with only 10 percent having ever practiced it in the state of California. And, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the low numbers extend to women as well.

As an attempt to reach these communities, family nurse practitioner Anne M. Teitelman is launching a study to try and determine why and what can be done about getting the word out for PrEP. “There is a life-saving medication available, and women don’t know about it. That seems important.” Teitelman said to the Inquirer, "It is particularly important in Philadelphia, where the simple fact of being female and African-American...  significantly increases the risk of contracting HIV."

According to Medical, Marketing & Media, James Meyers, EVP of Gilead's worldwide commercial operations said, "awareness of Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis is high in certain cities like San Francisco, but low in others. People at the highest risk of contracting HIV, such as African-American men who have sex with men, often live in underserved, inner city areas." 

This is why the company is opting to use platforms like Tumblr and Snapchat to raise awareness about the drug among people who don't engage with the healthcare system in traditional ways, he also added. Cities in which he hopes to promote Truvada include New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Oakland, and Newark.

Other organizations and city health departments have launched campaigns to raise awareness about Truvada  as a preventative HIV tool among women and Blacks.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center recently launched a campaign that seeks to change the numbers by using raw data and everyday language to provide the info and support to help people get a prescription, and a reminder that condoms prevent other sexually transmistted infections that PrEP doesn't protect from. The message? F*ck Without Fear, PrEP Here.

“The bilingual campaign was developed specifically to target those most at risk of HIV infection," a Gilead spokesperson said in a statement, "which include young gay [and] bisexual men of color and transgender women."

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Savas Abadsidis

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