Past Projects

The Philadelphia U=U Campaign

Evaluation of treatment as prevention messaging among HIV-affected communities.

Advances in HIV antiretroviral treatment permit people living with HIV (PLWH) to live normal, healthy lives. PLWH who adhere to their antiretroviral medication achieve an undetectable viral load, which prevents them from transmitting the virus to a HIV-negative sexual partner, even in the absence of barrier methods (e.g., condoms, pre-exposure prophylaxis [PrEP]), and is referred to as treatment as prevention (TasP). The U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaign was launched in 2016 to simultaneously raise awareness of TasP and reduce stigma toward PLWH. In early 2019, the City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) launched a mass media campaign called Philly Keep on Loving to raise awareness and motivate individuals at high-HIV risk to seek pre-exposure prophylaxis. In 2020, PDPH will launch a U=U expansion of the campaign with the aim of raising awareness about TasP and motivating positive outcomes along the HIV care continuum (e.g., linkage and retention to care; adherence to HIV medications). In partnership with PDPH, we will evaluate the campaign to examine campaign reach and message relevance as well as changes in TasP-related attitudes and behaviors in racial-ethnic minorities at risk of (or living with) HIV.

Goals

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  1. Recruit a racial/ethnic minority and sexual/gender diverse cohort of HIV-affected individuals (n = 400; 50% PLWH) in Philadelphia and evaluate changes in Tase awareness, information, motivation, and behavioral skills before and 6-months after the launch of the Philly Keep on Loving U=U campaign via online surveys.

  2. Assess HIV-affected persons reactions to and comprehension of Tase and U=U campaign messaging, including the channels and modalities used for dissemination via focus groups (k = 8; 8 - 10 per group).

  3. Triangulate survey and focus groups results to inform any modifications to the campaign and inform its scale-up as a health communication model for adoption across the United States.

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