Groundbreaking sexual health clinic 56 Dean Street has been acclaimed for its innovative work in encouraging gay men to look after their sexual health.
Operated by the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, it is one of the busiest sexual health clinics in Europe.
It provides services to a huge number of gay men in London, and has been credited with being instrumental in bringing down the HIV infection rate in London in recent months.
This is largely to do with running a PrEP clinic, at a time when PrEP is still not widely available on the NHS, and getting HIV positive men on to medication within days of being diagnosed.
Continuing its work in engaging with gay men the clinic it recently unveiled a six-part series of two-minute YouTube videos.
The light-hearted films, which center on a character called Joe, have a serious message: that there are now different ways to minimize your chances of acquiring HIV.
The first film went online at the end of last year, with new episodes released every couple of weeks. The whole series is now available to watch online.
Within it, Joe (played by Denholm Spurr), tries taking a break from sex, condoms, bareback sex, PEP/PrEP and monogamy, and discusses how he gets along with each option.
56 Dean Street’s Dr Alan McOwan said of the series in a statement: ‘I loved this series. Yes, it deals with the ways you can protect yourself from HIV but the story always comes first.
Issues touched upon the series include putting on condoms and not losing your erection, trust between partners, and self-confidence
The films were written by Patrick Cash. He told GSN, ’56 Dean Street’s wanted to showcase their ‘Prime’ project, where they acknowledge that there is no “one size fits all” HIV prevention method for gay men.
‘For some it’s condoms, for some it’s PrEP, for others it may be a monogamous relationship, and there may be an element of experimentation to find what works. With the ‘Joe series’ we’re honest that condoms aren’t the answer for all men, and there are other options.’
Asked if he found it a challenge to come up with something to engage gay men, Cash said, ‘I think harnessing the power of ubiquitous technology and social media is very important in relaying better health messages.
‘A lot of my work to date with the Dean Street Wellbeing Programme has been about merging the arts and health sectors (‘Let’s Talk About Gay Sex & Drugs’), and so working on the ‘Joe series’, to present important information about HIV prevention in a fun, accessible manner, seemed a natural progression.’
For more information on Dean Street, check the website at dean.st
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