City launches PrEP ad campaign to combat HIV rise in Black, Latina women

With HIV cases increasing among Black and Latina women, the city has kicked off a public health campaign aimed at increasing the use of HIV prevention medication.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said her agency is also reaching out to health care providers to suggest they discuss PrEP — pre-exposure prophylaxis taken as a daily pill — with their female patients.

“Anyone who is not in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is HIV negative should have a conversation with their doctor about PrEP,” Bassett said during a Tuesday news conference at Planned Parenthood’s office in Long Island City.

The overall number of new HIV diagnoses dropped from 2,493 in 2015 to 2,279 in 2016, according to the Health Department.

But those successes were tempered by a 5 percent increase in new diagnoses among women. Black and Latina women make up over 90 percent of new cases in women.

The campaign, titled “Living Sure,” includes diverse portrayals of women — young and old and transgender — to emphasize how using PrEP can keep you HIV negative.

Bassett said asking about using PrEP should not be a sign someone is promiscuous or a source of shame. She noted that decades ago, oral contraceptives were mistakenly viewed by some as a sign of promiscuity.

The campaign starts this month and includes posters on subways, bus shelters and other spots around the city.