PrEP4Love, a social marketing campaign employed in the U.S. to address PrEP stigma, appears to have been successful at improving public opinion about PrEP in a major U.S. city, researchers concluded in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.
The PrEP4Love advertising campaign was launched in 2016 as an effort to put a sex-positive spin on PrEP advocacy and education in Chicago, Illinois. Ads were displayed throughout the city’s transit system in 2016.
The current study surveyed 700 young men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender women who were participants in a longitudinal HIV risk cohort based in Chicago. The surveys took place between June 2017 and April 2018, well after PrEP4Love ads were displayed in the city’s transit system in 2016.
Seventy-six percent of participants reported having seen the ads. Those who saw them were more likely to be out to their providers (odds ratio = 1.95), have taken PrEP during the previous six months (OR = 1.87), and believe that their friends and the general public approve of this HIV prevention method compared to those who had not seen the ads.
The researchers allowed that the encouraging results of the study could be due to perceptual bias, since people who view PrEP positively and/or know someone taking the medication may have been more likely to notice the ads. As a result, they called for additional explorations into the successes and failures of campaigns such as PrEP4Love: “Continued implementation research in messaging and prevention advocacy is integral to establishing evidence-based approaches for this promising form of intervention,” they wrote.