You may have heard of PrEP, but how much do you really know about it? We’ve broken down the basics:
1. WHAT IS PREP?
PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a medication that prevents people who are HIV-negative from acquiring HIV. Ensuring access to PrEP is part of a comprehensive approach to prevent the spread of HIV.
2. DOES PREP REALLY WORK?
YES! PrEP eliminates the risk of acquiring HIV from sex by about 99% when adhered to as prescribed.
3. HOW CAN PREP PROTECT PEOPLE FROM HIV?
If your partner lives with HIV and is not on an ARV treatment, you’re at an increased risk of contracting the virus. This is where PrEP can intervene. PrEP can effectively protect HIV-negative individuals from contracting the virus from HIV-positive partners. It’s an easy, once-daily pill that reduces the risk and worry of transmission. Today, there are even more low-maintenance PrEP options that protect individuals from HIV with just a few treatments per year.
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4. WHY IS PREP IMPORTANT?
PrEP has been proven to prevent HIV in many diverse groups: gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, and heterosexual men and women. PrEP is especially important for people at heightened risk of acquiring HIV, like people with an HIV-positive partner or people who are unaware of their partner’s HIV status.
5. CAN EVERYONE ACCESS PREP AROUND THE WORLD?
If you live in New York, for example, accessing and using PrEP is relatively easy and common. However, if you cross the globe to Nairobi, PrEP prices are extremely high and access is low. Unfortunately, this is the case in many low- and middle- income countries. That’s why the Global Fund, the organization that receives all money (RED) raises, helps fund the provision of PrEP to ensure that community prevention efforts can include this important tool.
As more effective and low-risk HIV medicines come on the market, it’s important that where you live doesn’t determine quality of care. Beyond affordability, other barriers such as stigma and lack of awareness around HIV must be addressed through community sensitization and education on the value of PrEP. (RED)-supported Global Fund grants help fund programs that lower barriers to consistent and effective use of PrEP.