Finally, A PrEP Resource for Toronto's African, Caribbean & Black Community
Hello Toronto! Welcome to PrEP Squad TO a fresh new online, social media and print resource developed by the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) with funding support from the Engage Intervention Fund. Our resource aims to increase pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness, uptake and access in Toronto’s Black gay/ bisexual male or transpersons who have sex with men (gbMSM) community. It is an adaptation of the PrEP Squad Washington DC campaign, and will provide fun and sexy key messaging about PrEP, mobilize access through community partnerships with local ASOs, healthcare providers, among others.
When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at reducing an individual’s risk of acquiring HIV and it is one of the most powerful HIV prevention tools available. By increasing awareness of PrEP and its access, the PrEP Squad TO resource can provide Black gbMSM a safe, effective way to prevent HIV and bring the community one step closer to ending the HIV epidemic.
About one-third of first-time HIV diagnoses among African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) people were in men who identified as gbMSM in 2018.
“PrEP can prevent HIV transmission among Black gbMSM; however, uptake has been low. Several significant societal, institutional and financial barriers need to be overcome to fully increase the number of Black gbMSM at risk for HIV who access PrEP,” said Garfield Durrant, Black CAP Men’s Prevention Coordinator. “PrEP Squad TO has the potential to reach a large and diverse audience, and increase uptake of PrEP among Black gbMSM by increasing knowledge and access, changing attitudes, and addressing stigma.”
The PrEP Squad TO resource was driven by insights we gleaned from the community via focus groups with Black gbMSM who need PrEP the most. Everything we learned from our research is addressed in the campaign: knowledge/awareness of PrEP; perception of HIV risk; social stigma; provider bias and distrust of healthcare providers/systems; lack of access to medical care; lack of access to (or awareness of) financial assistance options; and PrEP side effects and medication interaction concerns. A majority of Black gbMSM demonstrated favorable attitudes towards PrEP and indicated a high likelihood of using PrEP if it were available to them through the resource.
The resource launched on 1st October 2020, includes PrEP users, popular opinion leaders and social media influencers as both disseminators of the campaign and models to encourage their peers to learn more about and consider taking PrEP.
The PrEP Squad TO resource will utilize several media platforms including video, a dedicated website, social media, print advertising, digital advertising and more to engage individuals within the Toronto community. To view the videos, access more resources and download PrEP Squad TO marketing collateral, please visit www.prepsquadto.ca.