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NYS Marks WAD With Launch of PrEP Informational Text Messaging Program


EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday December 1, 2016

On December 1, World AIDS Day, The New York State LGBT Health & Human Services Network (The Network) will launch a personalized text message campaign called "Bust the Myths, Get the Facts" to provide information about accessing pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, the HIV prevention medication. .......

If taken daily, PrEP is a pill that can lower the risk of getting HIV by more than 90 percent. By texting PREP to 69866, New Yorkers will be guided through a conversation that addresses commonly-perceived barriers to accessing the medication, and refers users to PrEP providers across the state.

"We at the AIDS Institute are grateful that this campaign supports New York State's efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2020," said Johanne Morne, Director of the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health. "By using a new text conversation approach, we can widen our reach and promote access to PrEP, a key component of reducing HIV infections in our state and a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo's Ending the Epidemic campaign."

Young people and people of color are most at risk of contracting HIV, so this campaign was designed to meet them where they are: on their phones.

"On World AIDS Day, we're proud to join our colleagues in the fight to end the epidemic by introducing The Network's PrEP text message campaign as a new strategy in preventing the spread of HIV," said Glennda Testone, Executive Director of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center), which administers The Network. "Every day, people across New York State visit their local LGBT health and human service provider seeking information about how they can stay healthy; for those who can't make it to their local provider or who wish to remain anonymous, this campaign provides that information in a way that is clear and easy to access."

LGBT influencers and activists, including YouTube vlogger Arielle Scarcella, will share the message on World AIDS Day to broaden the campaign's reach and connect people to information on PrEP. Scarcella participated in a video promoting the campaign, which can be seen here.

"I am thrilled to be a part of a campaign that connects young people to the information they need to stay healthy, especially since I get questions on PrEP frequently from my audience," said Scarcella. "It is not enough to just get the message about PrEP out there; we have to also offer educational materials in a way that resonates and feels personal."

The "Bust the Myths, Get the Facts" campaign is generously supported by the New York Department of Health's AIDS Institute and The Network's member organizations.

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