PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a once-daily pill that can reduce your chance of getting HIV by more than 90%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the United States may benefit from taking PrEP, but only 7% were prescribed it in 2016.
Spreading awareness about PrEP is important, especially here in the South where the need for prevention methods is higher than the amount of people using them. While more than half of new diagnoses of HIV were made in the southern U.S. in 2016, the use of PrEP to help prevent HIV has not risen in response. Only 30% of all PrEP consumers were in the Southeast in 2017. Cities that have quickly worked to get PrEP into the community are now seeing lower rates of HIV and we hope to replicate those achievements in our community.
PrEP can be used by anyone who is at risk for contracting HIV, but can be especially important to those with a higher risk of exposure. Things that increase someone’s risk for getting HIV include:
- Being sexually active with partners whose HIV status is unknown or who do not always use condoms.
- Having recently contracted a sexually transmitted infection – gonorrhea or syphilis.
- Being a man having sex with other men.
Recent statistics of new HIV diagnoses show that those under 21, who are African-Americans or Latino men having sex with men, are at considerable risk of acquiring HIV. If you fall into any of those categories, or just want more information about available prevention and treatment, call MASS at (757) 247-1879.