A groundbreaking new campaign created by black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) gay and bisexual men is aiming to increase testing amongst the traditionally under-represented group.
'Me. Him. Us.', the latest sexual health campaign from GMFA - the Gay Men's Health Charity, aims to increase testing among BAME gay and bisexual men, as well as provide representation for BAME gay and bisexual men in public health campaigns.
The first set of campaign images were unveiled on Tuesday (March 13) with a focus on black gay and bisexual men. The new posters will appear on high streets in South London, as well as LGBT+ venues ascross the capital and online.
Phil Samba, a Londoner who helped develop the campaign with GMFA and also stars in some of the images, said: "As a black gay man, I personally do not feel accurately represented at all in media or the gay community.
Phil Samba (left) helped designt he campaign and also stars in some of the images.
"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.
"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."
Marc Thompson, Co-Editor of BlackoutUK who worked as an advisor on the campaign, says he hopes 'Me. Him. Us.' will help reduce rates of HIV transmission among BAME men.
"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."
Ian Howley, Chief Executive of HERO - Health Equality and Rights Organisation, the parent organisation of GMFA added: "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."