King of Condoms, a multi-tiered IRB-approved study conducted by investigators from the University of Kentucky, in association with ProofPilot, will launch in New Orleans beginning Wednesday, November 13.
The King of Condoms campaign is both a social media marketing program and a street-based education program designed to protect young African American men who have sex with men against getting, or giving, HIV as well as other sexually transmitted disease. The study has two components; the first being a mobile tricycle ridden by a King of Condoms ambassador who will bike through urban areas of New Orleans to distribute condoms and initiate frank conversations about safe sex and reducing the cultural stigma of getting tested for HIV. The second phase of the King of Condoms campaign involves a survey taken by the target demo regarding their opinions on how social media can be an effective tool in promoting safe sex and encourage HIV testing. For an exact schedule of appearances by a King of Condoms ambassador, please visit the King of Condoms Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kingofcondoms?ref=hl or on Twitter @KingofCondomsNO.
Dr. Richard Crosby, lead investigator at the University of Kentucky, explains the primary reason for bringing the campaign to urban New Orleans: “Although New Orleans is the 38th largest city in the USA, New Orleans ranks third in the nation for HIV case rates, according to the most recent National HIV Surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control. The AIDS crisis in New Orleans will only get better if we can begin to think about condoms as a pleasurable aspect of the sexual experience between men. Guys who can erotically use condoms also benefit mentally during sex because the ‘HIV worry factor’ drops dramatically. Once we review the data we collect in New Orleans, we hope to bring the King of Condoms study to other parts of the country that are losing the war against HIV.”
Laura Salazar, Associate Dean for Research at Georgia State University and a consultant on the study, reiterates, “The study was created to reach a population in need, and in a relatable way, promote using good, high quality condoms as being sexy and an automatic response.”
Joining the King of Condoms campaign as ambassadors who will ride the easily identifiable tricycle around the city of New Orleans are Sean Sylve and Isaiah Jones, both of whom have extensive training and experience in counseling young black men about HIV awareness. Sylve states, “I am very excited to ride the King of Condoms tricycle around the city that I love and engage young people in conversation about the dangers of risky sexual behavior, as well as exploring new techniques that can help reduce the spread of HIV in New Orleans.” Isaiah Jones states, “HIV is a very serious problem in New Orleans and I am excited to do my part to provide education and promote safer sex practices in my community.”
To participate in the King of Condoms survey, please visit https://beta.proofpilot.com/en/koc/.