'There are people like me who will see that, and it will just wash over them': Black sexual minority men's perspectives on messaging in PrEP visual advertisements

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Culture, health & sexuality




Black sexual minority men; HIV; pre-exposure prophylaxis; sexual and gender minorities; social marketing


The high incidence of HIV among US Black sexual minority men is a public health crisis that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV can help address. Public health campaigns, which often include pictures of Black sexual minority men alongside PrEP-related messaging, have been developed to encourage PrEP awareness and uptake. However, the acceptability of the messaging within these campaigns among Black sexual minority men is unclear. We conducted four focus groups with 18 HIV-negative Black sexual minority men in Washington, DC to explore their perspectives regarding promotional messaging (textual elements) in PrEP visual advertisements, including their reactions to three large-scale public health campaigns. Primary themes included: (1) the need for additional information about PrEP, (2) preference for slogan simplicity, (3) the desire to normalise PrEP use, and (4) mixed views on the inclusion of condoms. Results indicated that the messaging in current PrEP visual advertisements may not sufficiently address Black sexual minority men's questions about PrEP. Providing basic PrEP information and methods to access more information; using simple, unambiguous language; presenting PrEP use in a destigmatising, normalising fashion; and conveying the relevance of condoms if included in the advertisement could help increase the acceptability of future PrEP advertising among Black sexual minority men.