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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Office of Communications & Marketing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 12, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Dawn Walker | dawn.walker@downstate.edu | (917) 439-9666

The STAR Program at SUNY Downstate Launches "GetMeOnPrEP" Campaign to Encourage PrEP Use

Brooklyn, NY – The Special Treatment and Research (STAR) Program at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University has launched #GetMeOnPrEP, a new marketing tool promoting the use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP. Funded by the New York State Department of Health, the #GetMeOnPrEP campaign is a STAR PrEP Program initiative.

PrEP is a commonly used biomedical approach for promoting wellness and preventing unwanted health outcomes. In PrEP for HIV, a person who is not living with HIV takes antiretroviral medication to protect them from possible exposure to HIV. Clinical trials have consistently found PrEP for HIV to be safe and effective for adults and adolescents when taken as prescribed. Expanding access to PrEP is one of the three pillars in New York's plan to end the AIDS epidemic.

"Some populations affected by HIV have historically experienced poorer access to healthcare that affirms their race/ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation," said Tracey Griffith, MHA, who manages the program."Therefore, addressing these systemic barriers is critical for achieving successful PrEP implementation."

The STAR Program's #Get Me on PrEP campaign, designed by Jose Iorio, addresses the significant health disparities among persons with HIV in New York State (NYS). Of the 1,953 new HIV diagnoses in NYS in 2018, nearly 78 percent were among people of color. Recent data released at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) demonstrate that PrEP uptake rates among Blacks and Hispanics are very low compared to whites.

The campaign will be featured on dating apps, social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube), LGBTQ+ magazines, Brooklyn newspapers, outreach events, MetroCard ads, and promotional items. When it is safe to do so, the campaign will utilize a mobile HIV/STD/PrEP testing booth at health fairs and community events.

Visit www.GetMeOnPrEP.com for a preview of the new campaign.  The STAR Program's marketing and social media campaigns advance Downstate's mission to improve Brooklyn's 2.6 million residents' health through community-based interventions.

About the STAR Program

The STAR Program (www.starprogram.nyc) was initially established in 1991 with the initial overall goal of integrating HIV-related care, research, and clinical education. Over the last three decades, the STAR Health Center has expanded beyond HIV care, offering primary care, hepatitis C (HCV) screening and treatment, PrEP, PEP, behavioral health services, harm reduction, buprenorphine treatment, an LGBTQ wellness program, and re-entry services for those released from incarceration. The STAR Program provides multiple HIV training programs for healthcare providers and participates in multiple research programs, including the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study/Women's Interagency HIV Study Combined Cohort Study (MACS/WIHS-CCS). STAR expanded its services to One Brooklyn Health System at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center in 2017 (STAR-Brookdale).

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About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit www.downstate.edu or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.