WASHINGTON, DC – Today, The DC Department of Health (DC Health) announced the launch of a new campaign called “Sexual + Being” to promote sexual health and wellness and address stigma through a “sex positive approach.” Sexual + Being is a key strategy for the District’s goal to reduce HIV, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and hepatitis rates in the city.
The new campaign departs from traditional approaches to sexual health which focus on fear. Instead, the Sexual + Being campaign encourages people to make healthy choices by using positive messages on how sex is a natural part of being, such as: Being+ Confident, Being+ Empowered, Being+ Brave, and Being+ Bold.
“DC Health’s vision is for the District to be the healthiest city in America, and sexual health is an essential part of that vision,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the DC Department of Health. “Our goal with this campaign is to encourage open and judgment-free conversations, support people in life choices like when to get pregnant, and promote access to health services.”
The campaign will include a comprehensive multi-media campaign aimed at people who live, work, play, or visit the District. The anchor of the campaign will be a new website sexualbeing.org, which will provide helpful culturally appropriate resources.
The District has set ambitious goals for sexual health in the nation’s capital including the 90/90/90/50 Plan which sets targets to be achieved by 2020:
- 90% of persons with HIV know their HIV status
- 90% of persons diagnosed with HIV are on treatment
- 90% of persons with HIV on treatment reach viral load suppression
- From 2015 to 2020 a 50% reduction in new HIV diagnoses
To help achieve these and other public health goals, Sexual + Being will promote:
- HIV, hepatitis, and STD screening
- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which is daily medication that can prevent HIV transmission
- Use of male and female condoms
- - Persons living with HIV getting and staying on safe, effective treatments.
The Sexual + Being campaign will also amplify the message of Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U), a global effort to promote the fact that people with HIV who take daily medication and achieve viral load suppression (or Undetectable), do not sexually transmit the virus to others.
The new campaign will also promote District residents’ use of health services including increasing the number of people starting PrEP treatment to 8,000 by 2020, launching a new Post-Exposure Prophylaxis initiative to help prevent HIV infection within 72 hours of exposure, and reducing health inequities among different populations through a new housing and employment program.