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New York Orgs are Using Text Messages to Help Bust Myths around PrEP

A coalition of 51 New York LGBT organizations and agencies are using using text messaging to help fight the stigma around PrEP. The “Bust the Myths, Get the Facts” campaign, launched on World AIDS Day, lets people sign up to receive informational texts and get connected to a provider near them.

“By using a new text conversation approach, we can widen our reach and promote access to PrEP, a key component of reducing HIV infections in our state and a cornerstone of Governor Cuomo’s Ending the Epidemic campaign,” said Johanne Morne, Director of the AIDS Institute at the New York State Department of Health.

PrEP (short for pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily pill that can lower the risk of contracting HIV by over 90%. It can be a life-saving drug, but many people aren’t even aware of how they can access it. Some are seeking out information, but want to remain anonymous.

“Ultimately our goal is to inspire people to text PREP to 69866, and get connected to information, advice and support in a personalized way,” Glennda Testone, Executive Director of NYC’s LGBT Community Center, told The Huffington Post.

The campaign uses YouTube influencers and LGBT activists to spread the message, such as Arielle Scarcella, who appeared in a #BustTheMyths video tied to the campaign’s launch.

The campaign is supported by the New York Department of Health’s AIDS institute and the coalition’s 51 member organizations – collectively called The New York State LGBT Health & Human Services Network (The Network).

To sign up, click here.

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