New York, New York -- Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), the world's first and leading AIDS service organization, has launched a new ad campaign in New York City bus shelters. The purpose of the campaign is to spread awareness of adherence to the life-saving tool, PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% when used consistently. The ad campaign is part of Mayor de Blasio's NYC Plan to End the AIDS Epidemic. The ads are appearing for three months at 10 bus shelters in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Upper Manhattan.
"PrEP is a critical tool for HIV prevention-and an essential part of our plan to end the epidemic-but all too often we are seeing advertisements and campaigns simply about the drug and not how to use it. This got us thinking. Adherence is critical for maximizing the effectiveness of PrEP. Individuals on the drug must take it every day for it to become effective, in addition to undergoing regular HIV testing," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "GMHC's HIV negative staff working group got together to create the campaign because we know how critical PrEP is to ending the epidemic, which still produces 50,000 new HIV infections every year. As New Yorkers are waiting at bus stops across the city, GMHC hopes that they will take notice of our ads and seek more information about how to access this life-saving medication."
PrEP is a key component of Governor Andrew Cuomo's Ending the Epidemic Blueprint in New York State. GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie was appointed to the Governor's Ending the Epidemic Task Force to develop a blueprint and issue recommendations specifically related to prevention, care, data, and housing and supportive services.
GMHC's campaign is targeted at communities with the highest numbers of new HIV infections. According to data released last year by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights in Brooklyn lead the city in new HIV infections. Both neighborhoods combined had 162 diagnoses in 2014. Central Harlem and Morningside Heights in Manhattan had the third highest number of new infections with 130. Crotona and Tremont in the Bronx had 110 new diagnoses and the South Bronx had 96 new diagnoses.