Milan Christopher — the openly gay, 34-year-old model, musician and former star of VH1’s Love and Hip Hop — has pursued his own brand of LGBTQ activism in the past, both by addressing bullying and queer youth suicide in his song “When I Go” and by normalizing the male body in his nude male photo shoot with Paper magazine. But now he’s helping educate young men of color about PrEP as a model for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s new “PrEP’d AF” campaign.
“According to a study from AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) Health, those most at risk for new HIV infections — gay and bisexual youth of color and transgender women — are the least likely to know about PrEP,” the L.A. LGBT Center says.
The APLA study also found that less than 10% of Latino and black youth use PrEP. And even among those who do know about it, there’s still a lot of stigma about using it as well as misconceptions about its safety and efficacy.
So the L.A. LGBT Center has enlisted Christopher as a face of their new PeEP’d AF campaign, a campaign which encourages the community to be as prepared as possible when taking care of their sexual health.
“In communities of color, there is so much stigma around sex, being gay and HIV that people are scared to even talk about PrEP — and many more don’t even know about it,” says Christopher, a PrEP user himself.
“I’m proud to be a part of this campaign because I want PrEP to be something we can talk about in the open so, ultimately, we can stop the spread of HIV and save lives.”
The PeEP’d AF campaign includes a website, prephere.org, where people can take a short quiz to gauge their personal HIV risk, clear up common misconceptions about PrEP and even book a free consultation to get a PrEP prescription.
PrEP is now covered by most insurance plans, the Center says. And for those who are uninsured, the Center can help make it affordable through patient assistance programs.
The PrEP’d AF campaign continues Christopher’s work as a role model for the LGBTQ community, including the millions of gay black men who may neither be out nor comfortable with their sexuality, something he mentioned during his interview with Paper magazine.
In the past, Christopher has appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times (twice) and on both Ellen DeGeneres and Wendy Williams’ talk shows, as well videos for Kanye West and the Game. He also served as the hunky cover model for the second issue of the gay men’s zine Daddy Issues.