Me. Him. Us campaign launches.
A new campaign has been launched that hopes to increase the amount of black gay men who test for HIV.
The Gay Men’s Health Charity (GMHC) and the Health Equality and Rights Organisation (HERO) have teamed up to create the Me. Him. Us campaign, which aims to increase testing among BAME gay and bisexual men but also to increase representation of BAME gay and bisexual men in public health campaigns.
Ian Howley, Chief Executive of HERO, explains of the campaign:
Although this campaign is focused on representation, it also has an important message. Black and minority gay and bisexual men are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and at a later stage too. It’s important that we increase the need for frequent testing for HIV and STIs for black gay and bisexual men.
At HERO we recommend that all sexually active men are tested for HIV every six months. Early diagnosis of HIV infection enables better treatment for you and reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to others.
The campaign will see a series of posters displayed across South London, whilst advertisements will also be seen across a number of LGBTQ+ venues and online sites.
Marc Thompson, Co-Editor of BlackoutUK who worked as an advisor on the campaign, explains:
Most of health professionals don’t like to admit it, but reflecting diverse audiences can be challenging for them. It’s difficult, especially if you don’t come from those communities or understand how to reach us effectively.
The lack of visibility of men from black, Asian and other ethnic minority communities in sexual health promotion has been well documented as having an impact on BAME men’s sexual health and risk taking, which ultimately plays a role in the disproportionate rates of HIV infection in this population.
The visuals for the campaign see black men being loving, caring and compassionate with each other.
Phil Samba, one of the stars to feature within the Me. Him. Us campaign, and who has played a key role in the development of the initiative, explained about his involvement:
As a black gay man, I personally do not feel accurately represented at all in media or the gay community. There is already a small amount of positive black male role models that steer away from stereotypes and there are even less ones that are gay. Black gay men are atrociously misrepresented as either being aggressive and hypersexual.
When I was younger I never saw any one who was like me on TV or heard anyone on the radio who was like me either and I think honest visibility and representation is so important for young black boys to feel comfortable in their sexuality however they see fit.
You can find more information on the Me. Him. Us campaign, alongside how to get involved in GMHC’s efforts, on their website.