similarly, to consider PrEP and reinforce adherence for people on PrEP. In this grass-roots approach, interested individuals had to be interviewed and undertake some training to become effective communicators of health information, particularly within networks and venues where the information is most needed.
These ambassadors shared real-life stories that highlighted the challenges of getting into and staying on treatment or getting on PrEP and practical strategies that worked for them. They can provide information and direct individuals in need of assistance to medical care and serve as a peer-support group to maintain people in care. Also, through the IAL campaign, a strategic partnership was developed with the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority and the local KRIV Fox 26 television station.
Encouraging PSAs and messages are disseminated on local network television stations and cable programming, inside buses and on rail platforms and on social media, digital radio, gay apps, out-of-home (billboards, malls, movie theaters), print and the HoustonIamLife.com website as a regular reminder to live healthier lives. The essence of the campaign for young LGBT persons of color is to reaffirm that “I am here. I exist. I matter.”
The IAL Campaign was just launched in July of this year. Time will tell how influential the campaign will be in reducing new HIV cases in the greater Houston area. However, it is through campaigns and interventions such as these that we will ever see the reductions in new HIV cases that signal to us that the epidemic is on the decline.
Dr. Crawford has over 25 years of experience in the treatment of HIV. While at Howard University School of Medicine, he worked in two HIV-specialty clinics at Howard University Hospital. He then did clinical research as a visiting scientist with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served as the Assistant Chief of Public Health Research with the Military HIV Research Program where he managed research studies under the President’s Emergency Plan for AID Relief (PEPFAR) in four African countries.
He is currently working in the Division of AIDS in the National Institutes of Health. He has published research in the leading infectious diseases journals and serves on the Editorial Board of the journal AIDS. Any views and perspectives in his articles on blackdoctor.org are not representative of any agency or organization but a reflection of his personal views.