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Pride in Prevention: Michigan's Inspiring PrEP Campaign

Marketplace Story

A new messaging campaign focused on authentic Michigan voices is aimed at preventing the spread of HIV through the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is spearheading the initiative, titled “MIPrEP. MIChoice.” 

The campaign centers on real stories from real people who live in Michigan and are using PrEP to help protect their health. MDHHS selected nine diverse people to spotlight, sharing information about why each of them has decided to use PrEP, which was approved for use by the FDA in 2012. 

PrEP Is Highly Effective for Reducing the Risk of Contracting HIV



Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is medicine that can be taken to reduce a person's chances of getting HIV from sex or sharing drug injection equipment. PrEP is for people who do not have HIV but have the chance of getting it. When someone taking PrEP is exposed to HIV through sex or sharing drug injection equipment, the medicines can keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection. Taking PrEP as prescribed by a health care provider can reduce the chances of getting HIV by up to 99% from sex and by at least 74% from sharing drug injection equipment.

Medication also can be taken following a possible exposure to HIV to help prevent transmission of the virus. In such cases, the medications are referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Both PrEP and PEP can be prescribed by a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

Authentic Stories Shine a Light on Real-World PrEP Usage

The campaign highlights nine different, remarkable individuals from diverse backgrounds in the local LGBTQ+ community in Michigan who use PrEP through digital ads, social media posts, audio streams, print advertisements, posters and materials displayed in establishments like bars, restaurants and beauty and nail salons — places where people gather together in community. 

Christopher MDHHS

One participant, Christopher, was photographed as he is in everyday life as a gay man and also as his drag persona, Caj Monet. Christopher says that PrEP helps him take control of his sexual health. “People are afraid of it because they’re not educated about it,” he says, adding that he hopes the campaign will build awareness of PrEP and prompt people to talk with their health care provider for more information.

“PrEP helps me take control of my own sexual health,” Christopher says in the campaign materials. “People are afraid because they’re not educated. In the Black community, things like mental, emotional, physical health and homosexuality are sometimes very taboo. I tell people not to be scared of medicine. It’s best to have all the information to make an educated decision about your health.”  

Doran MDHHS

Doran, whose hobbies include theater, writing and embroidery says in the campaign that PrEP “empowers” him. “I’m making choices for my personal health to do what is best for me,” he continues. “It gives me a boost of self-confidence, which being queer and a Middle Eastern man, you tend not to have as much. A big part of the queer Middle Eastern experience is shame. That shame leads people to not talk about things, or look for help, and just to continue behaviors without the knowledge of what they are doing. Taking PrEP gives me a sense of safety, protection and self-care.”

Monica MDHHS

Ballroom house mother, female illusionist and founding member of the Trans Sistas of Color Project, talks about losing friends and loved ones to the HIV epidemic. “My main goal is to stay protected, live a long, happy, healthy life and to still have healthy sex,” she says. “When you’re on PrEP, you can do all of those things. Being trans we are already stigmatized and have labels on us. I choose to be healthy. I choose to live my truth. PrEP gives me that sense of choice.” Monica is co-chair of the Michigan HIV/AIDS Council (MHAC).

David and Reese MDHHS

David and Reese, a Michigan couple, are featured together in the campaign. David, a drag performer, and Reese, an outdoor enthusiast, mention the peace of mind that comes with taking PrEP. “PrEP gives me comfort and security,” David says. “I’m taking precautions for my safety. I love that feeling for me and my partner. Peace of mind is hard to come by when first coming out. I am from a small town and didn’t know about PrEP. I highly encourage others to get on this pill that lowers the chance of getting HIV.”

Reese says taking PrEP makes him feel safe. “It makes me feel confident and takes the worry out of the moment,” he adds. “Taking PrEP lessens the chance of getting HIV. I encourage people to get tested, talk to their doctor, and open the door to more safety.”

Alfredo MDHHS

In the campaign, Michigan activist Alfredo reveals that he wasn’t sure about PrEP at first. “After a few years of skepticism, I finally got on PrEP,” he shares. “I decided it’s best to be proactive in maintaining my own sexual health because it’s a part of my health in general. I wanted to be a good example to others. I feel encouraged because this medicine is available to our community now. I get discouraged because some people can’t get over the stigma. We need to make HIV less scary. PrEP is just part of my tool kit.”

Chase MDHHS

Chase, who enjoys camping, hiking and live music, considers PrEP a form of safety. Still, he shares that he practices safe sex. “It’s just peace of mind more than anything,” he explains. “I know PrEP doesn’t prevent everything, but it helps prevent HIV. It’s important to normalize PrEP to other people as well who may not take it or know that it exists. For anybody that’s sexually active I can’t recommend PrEP enough.”

Jeena MDHHS

Artist and wigmaker Jeena shares a vulnerable moment in the campaign materials. “At one point I thought I had HIV,” she reveals. “It turned out that I didn’t, but I felt comfortable enough to seek help. It’s nerve-racking to go inside a testing clinic. I don’t feel that way anymore. It’s better to live comfortably than to feel anxious. PrEP gives my partner that safety and security of knowing that I don’t have HIV. It makes me feel at peace. My advice? Don’t believe all the myths out there, listen to the medical professionals. Do it for the people you love.”

Tiffani MDHHS

Tiffani, a Michigan mom who stays busy with activities like volleyball, bowling, hiking and kayaking takes a proactive approach to her sexual wellbeing. “I am a single mom of three boys,” she says. “I got a job and was talking to others about how PrEP helps prevent HIV and I thought I should be taking this myself. It’s an extra step of protection. You think you know your partner, but you never really know. It’s a daily reminder of your choices and to take care of yourself.”

The campaign isn’t just about helping to prevent HIV. It’s also about celebrating the diversity, resilience and empowerment of those in the Michigan LGBTQ+ community.

To learn more about the “MIPrEP.MI Choice” campaign, visit Michigan.gov/MIPrEP.


This content is made possible through our partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Partnerships like these enable Pride Source to produce free, quality storytelling for the LGBTQ+ community.



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