New ACON campaign shows there's now more to safe sex than just condoms
A new campaign by ACON highlights there is more than one approach gay men and men who have sex with men can adopt to prevent HIV.
Whilst condoms have been a mainstay of preventing HIV infections since the early days of the HIV epidemic, the leading NSW health organisation is sending a message that with options such as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) becoming more commonplace and UVL (undetectable viral load) a common catchphrase, there are other approaches to preventing transmission that don’t always involve a condom.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says the campaign reflects the latest developments in the science of HIV prevention.
“Condoms have been and remain a very effective, accessible and cheap barrier to HIV transmission and so still have a vital role to play in terms of HIV and STI prevention,” Parkhill says.
“However, if a person is HIV negative, they can now take PrEP, an antiretroviral drug that prevents HIV negative people from becoming infected. And if a person is HIV positive, it’s now proven beyond doubt that HIV treatments can help reduce that person’s viral load to an undetectable level, making it almost impossible to transmit the virus.
Parkhill says there is no longer a “one-size fits all" approach to safe-sex.
“Of course there’s a range of important provisos attached to both of these bio medical approaches in relation to effectiveness, side effects, access, and affordability. But the important message is there’s no longer a one size fits all approach to safe sex. We can now choose from a range of strategies – condoms, PrEP or UVL – to maximise sexual pleasure while protecting ourselves and our partners from HIV.
Parkhill suggests having multiple prevention options will assist in the fight to end HIV.
ACON’s new campaign features a range of community members and poses the question ‘How do you do it?'
For people who choose to use condoms, the answer could be ‘I do it all the time’, for people who choose to take daily doses of PrEP the answer could be “I do it every day’, and for people who choose to maintain UVL through HIV treatment the answer could be ‘I do it with my doctor.’
Photo: Reg Domingo
The campaign will roll out across NSW to coincide with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. It will feature on a range of billboards as well as on specially skinned buses travelling on some of Sydney’s most prominent routes.
A group of Uber driver-partners in Sydney have volunteered to get their private vehicles wrapped with the ACON campaign artwork for the next three weeks to help raise community awareness. Uber will also run a promotional campaign between 13 February and 5 March to help raise funds for ACON’s community safety and inclusion programs.
For every new rider who takes their first trip using the ACONPRIDE code between 13 February 2017 and 5 March 2017, Uber will donate $10 to ACON. The new rider will also get up to $20 off their first trip.