Houston Launches First HIV Prevention Campaign for Queer and Trans People of Color

'I am Life' Features Black and Latinx People Getting Their Lives

Associate Editor
Courtesy of 'I am Life'

Houston's newest HIV prevention campaign is breaking new ground.

The largest city in Texas recently unveiled I am Life, an HIV prevention and education campaign from the Houston Health Department aimed at black and Latinx gay and bisexual men and transgender people of color ages 13 to 34 living in the metropolitan area. The campaign features 20 ambassadors, all members of Houston's LGBTQ+ community, who are telling their stories to help combat HIV stigma. The campaign is in English and Spanish and includes five public service announcements about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as well as treatment for prevention.

The campaign features Harper Watters, a soloist at the Houston Ballet who's had several viral videos in the past featuring him doing various activities in high heels, including -- most famously -- dancing on a treadmill.

"I wanted to be a part of I am Life because of the extreme power of visibility. I empower through example as an openly gay African-American ballet dancer," Watters said in a statement. "I hope to open doors for the next generation and inspire them to try. I am Life sheds light on a difficult topic by educating and informing my community."

The campaign also features several transgender ambassadors, including Chloe Fulton, who said in a statement that she felt compelled to tell her story to help other trans women.

"If I can share my story of how I dealt and deal with common issues trans girls have, maybe we can open the minds of families like mine and save the lives of our girls," Fulton said.

Houston's HIV epidemic is heavily concentrated in its black community. Despite the city's population being only about 18% black, Houston's black population accounts for almost 50% of people living with HIV there. Among the other half, about 29% of people living with HIV in Houston are Latinx, while about 18% are white.

The campaign will use both traditional and social media to reach Houstonians who need to know more about HIV, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, cable television, billboards, and more.