John Byrne says he talks to people all the time that have no clue there is a pill to prevent HIV.
“Straight people are always shocked,” Byrne said. “They say ‘are you kidding me?’”
Byrne is not joking when it comes to PrEP and he is leading a campaign to educate the public. On Thursday, Nov. 12, in Miami Beach, Byrne will launch a new ad campaign to raise awareness of what is clinically termed pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Using a model introduced in Harlem, N.Y.,Byrne said he will encourage sexually active adults to consider using the daily pill which has been proven to block the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The PrEP campaign features images of the pill (Truvada) on the tongue of a man, coupled with the words: “Swallow This!”
Noting Miami-Dade County has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the nation, Byrne said it is important to leap into action. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show one in 56 adult men in Miami are living with HIV. The CDC estimates 25 percent of gay men in Miami have HIV.
Byrne, who is taking PrEP, said he is in a “fortunate business situation” that is allows him to self-fund this ad campaign.
“If you passionate about something, you just start doing it and others will eventually catch up,” Byrne said. “We are hoping to create a spark here in Miami with this campaign.”
The campaign, Byrne said, will start in friendly territory with the gay community and then move into high risk areas such as community colleges and universities.