OGDENSBURG — Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is joining with the AIDS Institute to promote PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) Aware Week, a public education campaign with activities across New York State, on Oct. 25-31.
This year’s theme is “This Is Why I PrEP.” Every health care provider, health care facility, local health department, community-based organization, social service agency, school, or individual concerned about HIV are encouraged to join the campaign and work together so that people of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities and abilities are aware of PrEP.
According to the letter dated August 2020, from the New York State Department of Health’s AIDS Institute, “PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV, and we must take every step possible to raise awareness about PrEP.” In 2018, 2,481 new HIV diagnoses were made in New York State, and greater than 85 % of that number were people of color. CDC studies show that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as directed daily. PrEP is a medication that prevents HIV and promotes sexual health. However, many people are unaware of PrEP or think it is unaffordable or are have inaccurate information about the side effects and the possible stigma around HIV.
PrEP is for people who are HIV negative and does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STI) like syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia. However, using PrEP and condoms together gives you protection from both HIV and most STI’s. PrEP is individualized to support your sexual health and HIV prevention needs. A prescription is required from a health care provider to get PrEP. There are many options for covering the cost of PrEP, and most insurance carriers will cover the medication and medical expenses like lab work and office appointments associated with the PrEP. For more information about PrEP, visit www.prepareforsex.org. If you need a primary care provider, visit Claxton-Hepburn on the web at www.claxtonhepburn.org/provider.