Never fear: Our nation’s capital is working hard to lower rates of HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Specifically, its health department unveiled a multimedia campaign titled “Sexual + Being” that ditches fear-based tactics in favor of a sex-positive message.
“Human beings are in a constant state of, well, being. Being passionate. Being fearless. Being unique. Being bold. And, of course, being sexual,” states the campaign’s website SexualBeing.org and a press release from the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health).
The goal is to to encourage people “to make healthy choices by using positive messages on how sex is a natural part of being, such as: Being+ Confident, Being+ Empowered, Being+ Brave, and Being+ Bold.”
According to the release, the campaign will promote HIV, STI and hepatitis screening; male and female condoms; pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent people from contracting HIV; and treatment for those living with HIV.
HIV diagnoses in DC have remained level, according to a report from the District of Columbia Department of Health HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA), but the data showed “significant increases” in reported STIs. The campaign hopes to address those increases.
On the website, visitors can connect with communities of like-minded individuals, find sexual health services and medical resources, and get tested. They can also watch a short video from the campaign, which notes that “sex is a natural part of being” and introduces the hashtag #DCBeings.
The campaign, which was launched with an art show, includes a series of ads that will appear throughout the city and will also promote “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” or “U=U.” This is the concept that an HIV-positive person who maintains an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus.
The campaign is part of the district’s “90/90/90/50 Plan” to end its HIV epidemic. By 2020, the department aims to reach these goals:
- 90 percent of people with HIV will know their status
- 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV will be on treatment
- 90 percent of those on treatment will reach a suppressed viral load
- HIV diagnoses will be reduced by 50 percent from 2015 to 2020.
For a related POZ story and video, check out “This Racy HIV Ad Will Definitely Have You Thinking About Sex.”
To see a video from the campaign, click here.