West Hollywood

City seeks to raise awareness on PrEp

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city is launching a comprehensive public awareness campaign to inform the community about pre-exposure prophylaxis, known simply as “PrEP.”

The campaign includes outdoor media advertising and targeted print information with details about obtaining a PrEP prescription and about health care services available locally that contribute to helping prevent the spread of HIV.

In order to emphasize the message on social media, the city has joined with Todrick Hall to produce a catchy music video, “Hakuna Truvada,” as a public service announcement, which was released last week on Hall’s YouTube channel.

The campaign is part of the city’s strategic plan in collaboration with HIV and substance abuse treatment service provider partners to reduce new HIV/AIDS cases.

“I have been an eyewitness to the AIDS epidemic from the very beginning,” City Councilman John Duran said. “I believe that PrEP is part of the beginning of the end of the epidemic. Thirty years ago we prayed for a medication that would prevent transmission. It is here.”

“West Hollywood wants every person to access the tools and opportunity needed to avoid an HIV infection. It’s important,” Councilman John D’Amico said. “Talk to your health care provider to see if PrEP is right for you.”

Hall, a singer, actor, director, choreographer and dancer, has worked with the city on previous campaigns to encourage pedestrian safety and promote voting and public participation.

“Hakuna Truvada” is a local-themed parody of Elton John’s and Tim Rice’s Oscar-nominated mega-hit song “Hakuna Matata” from Disney’s “The Lion King,” based on the Swahili phrase that roughly translates to “no worries.”

In the PSA video, dancers are adorned in wild-animal prints as they dance and prance in West Hollywood’s own jungles and plains in a jaunty West Hollywood-style twist of the famous scene from “The Lion King” — the characters sashay as a group to the Los Angeles LGBT Center WeHo for a health checkup and a PrEP prescription.

“When you look at the statistics and see that one in four new HIV infections each year occurs in those aged 13-24, it’s evident that young people aren’t paying attention to traditional methods of education about HIV,” said Joel Goldman, managing director of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “This PSA is a brilliant concept from the city of West Hollywood and Todrick Hall to break through the clutter and reach young people with really important information about HIV prevention.”

In addition to the video, the city, in collaboration with AIDS Project Los Angeles and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, has released a new slate of printed materials in English and Spanish with PrEP information targeted to multiple communities, such as gay men and transgender people.

To obtain location-based information about local PrEP providers, text “PREP” to 41411. Transgender people can text “Trans” to the same number for a link to the West Hollywood Transgender Resource Guide. Texting “PrEPare” will generate a link to Spanish-language information. All text links connect to information based at www.pleaseprepme.org.

For more information about PrEP, please visit www.weholife.org.


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