Have you ever heard of PrEP? By attending the “Why Should You Consider PrEP?” seminar with speaker Damon L. Jacobs, we have learned a lot about PrEP that we would like to share with you.
What is PrEp?
PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis which is a prevention drug for HIV. The only drug at the moment that fits the PrEP criteria is Truvada. Truvada was introduced to the world on December 12, 2010 and was approved by the FDA on July 16th, 2012. Even though this drug has a 99 percent effective rate of preventing HIV when used daily it is not getting the attention it deserves . Damon L. Jacobs created a Facebook page called “PrEP Facts: Rethinking HIV Prevention and sex” to create a platform for people anywhere in the world who are already taking Truvada or who are interested in taking it to receive Support, Opinions, Facts, Research, etc. With Truvada being the only known effective drug for HIV prevention, one has to ask… why don’t more people know about it. In fact one out of every three doctors still do not know about Truvada, this shocking truth can be very detrimental to those who are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Having sex without a condom or sharing needles with someone put individuals at a higher risk for contracting HIV especially if they are not taking a medicine that prevents or treats HIV. Although the HIV risk factors are the same for everyone, some groups are more affected than others, for a variety of possible reasons. For example, in the U.S. new HIV infections are increasing among young men who have sex with men, especially young, black men who have sex with men (ages 13-24). Moreover African American, Native American/Alaska Natives, Asian Heritage, Latino, Indigineous Hawiians and Other Pacific Islanders are the racial and ethnic groups disproportionately affected given their percentage of the population. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men account for the majority of new HIV infections in the U.S. each year despite making up only 2% of the population. Other risk groups include people who are incarcerated, health care workers, people who are economically disadvantaged and sex workers. Additionally, a range of social, economic, and demographic factors – such as stigma, discrimination, income, education and geographic region- affect a persons risk for HIV.
Why do people use PrEP?
The acronym introduced in the program was: P.L.E.A.S.U.R.E
Peace of mind
Locus of control
Expectations of staying HIV negative
Efficacy for bottoms
Even though they are negative stigmas attached to its use, people who currently use PrEP embrace using it. People with partners who happen to be HIV positive are confident in knowing they won’t have to worry about contracting the virus and are even able to conceive children who are HIV negative! Yes, we have PrEP babies who are HIV negative and healthy.
What is still needed?
To spread the word, which begins with YOU!
Where to go for more information
Gender and Sexuality Resource Center-
Facebook- “PrEP Facts: Rethinking HIV Prevention and Sex”
For more information on PrEP in the Albany area click the link: http://www.amc.edu/Patient/services/HIV/prep/prep.cfm
Nationally recognized speaker Damon L. Jacobs; HIV prevention specialist