A bold new advertisement campaign launched by the D.C. Department of Health uses sexual innuendos to promote the use of a pill called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to stop the spread of the HIV virus.
The provocative ad, which has been running on local television to various reactions, shows a woman licking an ice cream cone, a man stroking a golf club and a bottle of mustard erupting.
“Thinking about sex,” asked and alluring female voice. “Then think about PrEP.”
PrEP, a daily pill approved by the FDA and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by more than 90 percent.
A decade ago, nearly four people a day were diagnosed with HIV in the city. Though the number dropped to less than one person a day in 2016, the number of HIV-positive residents (13,500, or 2 percent) living in the city exceeds the World Health Organization’s definition of 1 percent as a generalized epidemic.
D.C. health officials hope the ad will increase awareness of the pill to help prevent the spread of HIV.