Instituto Familiar de la Raza Launches Community-Driven PrEP Campaign

To learn more about the Viva PrEP campaign visit – https://vivaprep.org.

Billboards, BART stations, and MUNI buses will soon be filled with images of Latino men, transgender Latinas, and Latino families to raise awareness about PrEP. The new sexual health campaign, Viva PrEP, is one of the first Spanish-language PrEP awareness campaigns to specifically target the Latino community.

Instituto Familiar de la Raza (IFR) launched the Viva PrEP campaign on May 7, 2018. Co-developed by IFR frontline workers with input from the Latino community, Viva PrEP’s goal is to increase awareness of PrEP as an effective HIV prevention tool in the broader Latino community, as well as to increase PrEP usage among both Latino men who have sex with men, and transgender Latinas.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a safe and effective medication that – if taken daily – reduces the risk of contracting HIV by more than 90%. Black and Latino men and transgender women are most at risk of contracting HIV, yet they are least likely to know about PrEP; and those who are familiar with PrEP often have misconceptions about it. The percentage of Latinos using PrEP remains low due to various barriers. Some barriers include language, limited knowledge of or access to HIV prevention services, stigma or fear of discrimination, fears regarding immigration status, and the belief that PrEP is unaffordable for the underinsured or uninsured.

Viva PrEP embraces the language and culture of the Latino community as a means of dispelling institutional barriers. With funding from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Getting to Zero Initiative, the high level of community involvement in this Spanish-language campaign is immediately evident from the images and messages of Viva PrEP. In discussing IFR’s approach, Dr. Estela Garcia, Executive Director of IFR, noted, “Solutions for the Latino community must be driven by the community itself. Many of the staff members who contributed to the campaign are part of our target population. They understand firsthand the barriers many Latinos face and are committed to community health and empowerment.”

Viva PrEP is critical, not only because Latinos are disproportionately impacted by HIV, but because it seeks to reach Latinos who have been historically left out of the conversation. Viva PrEP is therefore composed of culturally relevant and honest language aimed at capturing people’s attention and provoking conversation. Each image reflects specific subpopulations the campaign intends to reach including transgender women, queer Latino men, Latinos regardless of sexual orientation, and the family at large. “We have a different worldview, and although mainstream information is accurate, its messaging is largely told through a sociocultural lens that does not resonate with our community. Because of this reality, campaigns like Viva PrEP truly have the potential to drive substantial impact,” said Dr. Garcia.

Even as Viva PrEP is primarily focused in neighborhoods with high Latino populations such as the Mission District, Tenderloin, Bayview-Hunter’s Point, and Excelsior, the campaign will also appear in local newspapers and on social media (#vivaprep). There will also be numerous outreach events taking place throughout the year such as during Carnaval, Pride, and the Folsom and Castro Street Fairs.

To learn more about the Viva PrEP campaign visit – https://vivaprep.org.

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