I Love My Boo!

This is the way to do social marketing for HIV prevention for Black and Latino Gay men.

My friends at the Institute for Gay Men’s Health at GMHC continue to break the mold in terms of how to do effective, interesting, and NON-STIGMATIZING HIV prevention. For Black gay men in particular, we know that number of sex partners, higher rates of drug use or higher rates of unprotected anal sex isn’t what is driving the epidemic among Black gay men (who have the highest HIV rates in the US). One of the things that may be a contributing factor among Black gay youth is “serial monogamy”—Black gay men tend to only date one person at a time, but not having safe sex in those monogamous relationships, which are often (as is generally true with youth) short lived.

Also, when polled about their rates of getting tested, Black gays are generally getting tested regularly, so testing does not equal prevention. So all those “get tested” campaigns are not the issue, and they can actually be more stigmatizing, because the only time Black gays get talked about in public purview is to “protect the public” from disease. I guess we’re not considered part of the public—HIV+ or not.

If we recognize that folks need to have safe sex in their monogamous relationships, this social marketing campaign makes perfect sense as an intervention. I also love the fact that the ads are also all over Black and Latino neighborhoods in NYC.

Kudos, GMHC!