LGBT HERO has launched a new innovative campaign, which aims to address the link between mental wellbeing and sexual health.

Created by and for black gay and bisexual men, Me. Him. Us. - More To Safer Sex will unveil seven videos over the coming months, encompassing PrEP, HIV testing, PEP, condoms, STIs, HIV undetectable and mental health. Kicking off with the key component to a happier, healthier sex life, the first video focuses on mental health and how this can impact the kind of sex you have and the decisions you make. One of the stars of the video says, “When my mental health suffers, I don’t always make the best decisions about my sexual health”. LGBT HERO, who has developed the campaign in partnership with the men involved, says it is important that we take mental wellbeing seriously, especially in HIV prevention. 

Ian Howley, the Chief Executive of LGBT HERO says, “We have been saying for years that there’s more to safer sex than telling people to wear condoms or take PrEP. If you are experiencing self-worth or self-esteem issues it will naturally have an effect on how you look after your health, including your sexual health. We know that when people don’t look after their personal wellbeing, they are far more likely to make decisions that they wouldn’t normally take, including putting themselves at greater risk of HIV and STIs.” 

Phil Samba, a health promoter and one of the co-creators of Me. Him. Us. explains why he got involved with the project: “I take PrEP and I test for STIs and HIV because it’s vital for me to do so. I take care of my sexual health for myself first and foremost and anyone I sleep with. But I also know my mental health plays a huge part in my sexual health, and that’s why I try to manage both of them the best I can. I really wanted to be involved in helping to create this project because it’s important for us black men to take care of our sexual health and get tested regularly, because sadly we are disproportionately affected by HIV and poor sexual health universally.”

Speaking on the importance of the campaign, Ian Howley of LGBT HERO says; “Black gay and bisexual men face some of the harshest health and social inequalities that exist in society. They are far more likely to experience anxiety and depression in comparison to white gay and bisexual men. On top of that they also face prejudice, discrimination, and isolation, sometimes from within the LGBTQ+ community itself. This is why Me. Him. Us., a campaign developed by and for black men, is an important movement in a bid to tackle these health and social issues while increasing representation and visibility within the LGBTQ+ community.”     

Ian continues, “Although this campaign will have a major focus on mental health, which is super important, it will also highlight all the ways to prevent HIV and STIs including PrEP, PEP, condoms, testing methods and treatment. Even in 2020 there are still a lot of people who don’t know about some of these. The men in these videos have a clear message. Yes, it’s important to know all the ways to prevent HIV and STIs but make sure looking after your mental health is one of them. We feel this is a central message that every person should hear.” 

The Me. Him. Us - More To Safer Sex campaign launches with the first of its seven videos focused on mental health, with videos on PrEP, condoms, testing and more launching in the coming months. For more information about all the ways to prevent HIV while looking after your mental health visit, www.mehimus.org.uk.