Spearheaded by Belle Ursa, an HIV Prevention Education Coordinator, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland uses an arsenal of 10,000 custom condoms to spread knowledge of not only safe sex, but also the benefits of using PrEP. The idea was to introduce the drug to the community, which if taken daily, can reduce one’s likelihood of acquiring HIV by 92%. The custom designed condoms are on the frontline in an aggressive ground crusade to directly empower people with knowledge.
PReP Awareness with Custom Designed Condoms
The condom-based initiative’s main goal is to engage the community on a personal level. With the help of powerful Public Opinion Leaders (POLs), a team that literally takes to the streets and frequents the cafes, bars, and hangouts of the local LGBT+ community, the idea is to take the information directly to the people who need it most and to speak their language.
“We want to come to your neighborhood, on your terms,” Belle declares, “and to provide outreach to the community from within the community itself about HIV, where to get tested, and especially PrEP.”
Belle describes her tribe of POLs as loud and social, but altogether understanding of the plight of the people they interact with. While bringing this data directly to the people, it is also important for the team to be discreet while interacting with each individual. Gauging the acceptance and playing off of reactions is a powerful skill, especially in a continuously marginalized culture, and that is why Belle believes the condoms help create an olive branch of sorts to illuminate PrEP and its potential to help the community.
“Even if people are not comfortable talking about their PrEP needs,” Belle continues, “we leave pamphlets, pins, and condoms wherever the POLs go.”
The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
Since 1975, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland has been serving the needs of the LGBT+ community in Northeastern Ohio, and have become a force across lines of culture. The Center’s work and mission remain important and vital in order to help via awareness education and real world tools, like PrEP.
The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland works to enrich the lives of the diverse LGBTQ community through advocacy, support, education, and celebration. With useful, practical tools, such as condoms, the Center is still at the start of its fight of continuing to engage people, and they show no signs of slowing down, even if they have to talk to people one at a time.
Turning Conversations Into Action
Furthermore, the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland partners with Metro Health on regular community dinners to make this information palatable. With the guidance of Dr. Anne Avery, the idea is to steer people to Metro Health to get the help they need to get on PrEP.
With a never-ending focus on helping people live their true self, and to lift up the LGBT+ community in Northeastern Ohio to encourage everyone within to live authentically and successfully.