The AIDS Action Committee is pleased to announce the launch of a new advertising campaign that aims to educate the public on the benefits of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the fight against HIV. Also commonly known by the brand name Truvada, PrEP is a daily pill that, when taken daily, has proven to be 99% effective in preventing HIV infection. The Talk PrEP campaign hopes to raise public awareness of PrEP’s efficacy and encourage people to start conversations with their friends, family, and doctors about this life-saving drug.
Anyone who is HIV-negative, does not have degenerative kidney or liver disease or infection, is not pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and is able to take a daily pill is eligible to use PrEP to protect themselves from HIV, explained Christopher Brennan, Getting to Zero Program Coordinator at AIDS Action Committee. Daily PrEP can be especially effective for people who are at higher risk for contracting HIV, such as anyone who has frequent unprotected sex, has recently had an STI of any kind, is a sex worker, or engages in injection drug use.
“Engaging in these activities can increase a person’s risk of HIV infection, and regular, consistent use of PrEP has been shown to reduce that risk,” Brennan said.
All doctors are capable of prescribing Truvada as PrEP, Brennan explained, and there is no need to see an infectious disease specialist to obtain PrEP. While PrEP may be expensive, the majority of insurance providers will cover it. There are also a number of payment assistance programs available, including assistance through Truvada developer Gilead Sciences.
Those who take PrEP daily may find that it also eases fear around other health topics – even regular physicals. “PrEP users have reported that their experience at the doctor is significantly improved after starting PrEP, because they no longer have to feel embarrassed asking for STI testing,” Brennan said. “Once you are on PrEP, this testing is standard of care and done automatically at your three month check-up.”
“PrEP is a major breakthrough in HIV prevention, but there is very little awareness and also some negative stigma associated with PrEP due to misinformation and misunderstanding of it,” said Brennan. “This campaign, along with our new team of PrEP health navigators and planned strategic outreach, are actively working to address those issues and help everyone to live a healthy, active life that is right for them.”
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