CDC Campaign Case Study

CDC funded campaign increases both PrEP and PEP enrollment for Desert AIDS Project

Earlier this year, we had the honor and challenge of crafting the PrEP'n'Play campaign for Desert AIDS Project (DAP). Funded by a demonstration grant by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the campaign highlighted the efficacy and availability of PrEP, a game-changing anti-viral medication that dramatically decreases the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS, in an effort to reach the priority populations of African American and Latino Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) and Males who have Transitioned to Female (MTF) communities in the Coachella Valley.


Desert AIDS Project History

DAP was established in 1984 in the Coachella Valley by a small group of health advocates responding to the desperate needs of people suffering with HIV and AIDS. At the time of establishment, services focused on providing compassionate end-of-life care, as medications for HIV/AIDS were scarce and only mildly effective. As treatment for HIV/AIDS has evolved over the years, so has DAP. Three decades later, DAP is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Care Center, providing preventative and primary health care services to a wide range of patients throughout the region.


Communities of color are disproportionately infected by HIV each year. There are a number of contributing factors, including a longstanding culture of silence, social and religious shaming, institutional distrust, plus limited access to information and care. DAP's goal was to connect the underserved members in the gay community with the life-saving services readily available to them.

Campaign Strategy

Our creative team parlayed a proven tool; creating and delivering entertaining video content for normalizing messages around sexual health. The underlying message was sex positive: sex is to be enjoyed, stress free. Freedom from fear of contracting HIV enhances sexual expression, while creating a healthier community in general.

Let's Talk About Campaigns

A series of stop motion animation videos was created, adapting true stories from local MSM/MTF, their tales re-enacted in a cleaver fashion using dolls as "actors."  The interviewees were afforded anonymity, upping the forthright truthfulness in sharing sexual experiences ranging from the playfully titillating, to disturbingly risqué, to sweet intimacy. A credible, sex-positive and pro-PrEP message was delivered -- sometimes pushing the envelope, always opening a broad conversation -- educating, entertaining and creating empathy within and sometimes outside the target LGBTQ community audience.

A two-phase campaign roll-out featuring the dolls alone in the teaser phase, followed by the introduction of the PrEP pill in the reveal stage, built intrigue around the campaign. The video content was adapted for traditional and digital media vehicles (posters, billboards, blogs) ensuring the campaign achieved maximum reach within the priority populations. To increase credibility and avoid becoming more “safe sex noise,” not all stories mentioned PrEP directly, but the PrEP messaging was featured throughout the videos.

 Out of Home Media: Billboards

Out of Home Media: Billboards

 Out of Home Media: Bus Stop Takeover

Out of Home Media: Bus Stop Takeover

The PrEP'n'Play campaign took place in a six-month period, anchored around two major Palm Springs events that attracted more of the priority populations to the area: PRIDE weekend and the Blatino Oasis / The White Party. A festive, interactive presence at PRIDE included a sassy photo booth, condom giveaway, and free HIV testing.

 Community Outreach: Palm Springs Pride Event

Community Outreach: Palm Springs Pride Event

 Results of the PReP'n'Play campaign.

Results of the PReP'n'Play campaign.


The successful PrEPn'Play campaign ultimately delivered 11.4M+ total impressions to nearly 883k unique users. Earning 169 leads (PrEP appointments and calls to a PrEP Navigator) that were attributed directly to campaign vehicles with an average cost per lead of $223.

In terms of connecting clients to care during the campaign, a milestone 98% conversion rate was realized between medical consults for PrEP and enrollments on PrEP.

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  • Total Referrals to a PrEP Navigator: 276
  • Total Clients who attended a PrEP Consult with a Medical Provider: 93
  • Total Clients who initiated PrEP: 92 (98% of consults)
  • Total Clients who initiated PEP: 43

PrEP prescription enrollments doubled as a result of the campaign, while sister drug PEP enrollments nearly tripled! PrEP'n’Play helped exceed DAP’s enrollment goal, while educating the priority populations on the value of preventative care. In addition to driving measurable success, this campaign also established the infrastructure for DAP to track and attribute patient acquisition to their marketing activities for all future campaigns.


Today, the use of PrEP has made great strides toward minimizing the spread of HIV in the Coachella Valley. So much so that Desert AIDS Project and similar organizations are able to work toward the goal of completely eliminating new infections in their regions.

By spreading awareness through Hydro Studios' PrEP'n'Play campaign, DAP has seen a huge increase in both PrEP and PEP enrollments, as well as positive responses from not just LGBTQ communities, but heterosexual and health care groups as well. Though not always an elegant conversation, community outreach to reduce the stigma surrounding the MSM and MTF populations continues to be addressed, buoyed by healthier approaches to support all ways of life.


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