In West Hollywood, the L.A. LGBT Center is taking its “F*k W/Out Fear” campaign to the streets, literally.
The first of five chalk illustrations touting the effectiveness of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in preventing HIV infection was placed on the sidewalk on Santa Monica Boulevard near Hancock in WeHo today. In coming weeks there will be additional images on Santa Monica at Palm Avenue, Santa Monica at Larrabee Street, Santa Monica at San Vicente Boulevard and Santa Monica at Robertson Boulevard.
The Center launched the campaign on Jan. 8 with digital and print advertising, outreach through Center programs that particularly serve transgender women and young men of color and at the Center’s Mi Centro facility in Boyle Heights.
On Jan. 8 it staged a “Paint the Town Blue” event in which staffers and volunteers handed out information about PrEP at bars in West Hollywood and Hollywood. “Blue” is an allusion to Truvada, the blue pill that provides pre-exposure prophylaxis. By taking the prescribed dose of Truvada daily a person reduces his or her risk of HIV infection by up to 99%.
The Andrew Christian store in WeHo is selling “Fearless F*cker” t-shirt, the net profits from which will be used to support the Center’s PrEP services.
The Center’s F*ck w/out Fear campaign is sex-positive and deliberately uses raw, real language to get people’s attention and spur conversation. It also aims to combat misconceptions about the safety and effectiveness of PrEP and the belief that it’s unaffordable. PrEP is now covered by most insurance plans and for those who are uninsured, the Center can help make it affordable through patient assistance programs. After a free PrEP consultation, which can now be scheduled online, most people will be able to leave with a prescription. Transportation assistance is available for those who don’t live close to the Center’s facilities in Hollywood and West Hollywood.
“We’ve got the tools to not only end the fear of HIV, but to end it as an epidemic. Those at risk have to know about the tools, though, and they need honest information about them,” said Center Chief of Staff Darrel Cummings. “Our campaign provides the truth about PrEP, the information and support to help people get a prescription, and a reminder that condoms are necessary to prevent other sexually transmitted diseases.”
PrEPHere.org, the campaign website, includes an online tool to help gay and bisexual men determine how strong a candidate they are for PrEP. Based on data collected from people who have tested for HIV at the Center and from research published in the peer-reviewed journal “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” the short quiz helps users determine their “PrEP score” and make a more informed decision about whether PrEP is right for them.
Those most at risk of HIV are gay and bisexual youth of color and transgender women, but a recent study by APLA Health of young gay and bisexual men revealed that Latino and African-American youth are the least likely to know about PrEP and less than 10% are using it.
this is ridiculous, tacky, and dangerous. Promoting unsafe bareback sex to try and hock drugs on everyone is ludicrous.
Is a disgusting/low class/questionable poor excuse/ one step from promotion of graffiti, add campaign what we need to lower ourselves to in order to be an Aids Free city? Have we fallen that far? This is what makes West Hollywood “Unique”??? Thank God. Hopefully it doesn’t spread.
Is this the creativity at work in the “Creative City”?
Sad. West Hollywood should be ashamed.
Tacky and promotes a message that doesn’t include other STDs.
Is it really necessary to have the word “F*CK on the sidewalk with the message? You’d think the whole city was Gay and based on sex. Oh…
This is a bold, brave marketing campaign, and I hope it is effective. Regarding condom usage, people should save their judgement, and let everyone make their own choices about what is right for them. Up until PrEP, I’ve lived in fear of dying from having sex my entire life. I’ve been told that I “must use a condom,” and that that is my only option. And some of that message has come from the straight community, who aren’t being fed the same message. They get to enjoy the intimacy of condomless sex, without the ridicule. Gay men should be able… Read more »
Agreed, it is best to educate the community about all options available to stay healthy including condoms, Prep or safer sex. Also, absolutely no child will be scandalized by the cheeky wording. They have seen more intriguing vice on their parents iphone.
Sex has been so traumatic for gay men that I completely understand both those who celebrate PREP and those who are terrified we are being set up for another epidemic. We were first taught to live in fear of gay sex because we could be arrested for it. Next, we were taught to live in fear because we could be killed for it. Far be it for me to judge anyone who chooses what they want to do, but the advent of an option to expand our choices is progress toward reducing the stigma of sex and HIV. I applaud… Read more »
The art crew is on the streets on their hands and knees painting our sidewalks with lots of love and dedication to community. One is scheduled for right in front of the BlockParty shop. This is what makes West Hollywood unique. I understand some might find this offensive in some manner but its a solid campaign that helps to create an understanding that will help us reach our goals of an AIDS-free city. Now if they put this much effort into cleaning the sidewalks it can be a win-win for all.
This is so alarming to use that phrase “f ck w/o fear” as a message. Prep is often code for unprotected sex with strangers in the hookup/app world. Various STDs are rampant. Ask any honest medical doctor. And yes there is a super virus strain out for people on Prep assuming it’s the end all be all. Wake up people. Use condoms. I don’t trust pharma but if you’re going to use it then still use condoms!
This is so alarming to use that phrase “f ck w/o fear” as a message. Prep is often code for unprotected sex with strangers in the hookup/app world. Various STDs are rampant. Ask any honsets medical doctor. And yes there is a super virus strain out for people on Prep assuming it’s the end all be all. Wake up people. Use condoms. I don’t trust pharma but if you’re going to use it then still use condoms!