HIV does not capture much media attention these days, but it has not disappeared. According to New York State Department of Health, there were approximately 3,000 new cases of HIV infections in 2013. Their goal is to reduce this number to about 700 cases by the year 2020. To do so they are encouraging the PrEP program to at risk HIV negative persons
What is PrEP?
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a new program in the fight against HIV. It is a preventative approach that reduces the risk for HIV infection. The program consists of taking a daily drug – Truvada, HIV education, use of prevention methods, and medical oversight.
How Does It Work?
Unlike the morning after birth control pill, Truvada is used as a prevention measure before the person is exposed to an unsafe sex encounter.
NYS Dept. of Health designed a six item PrEP program for HIV negative persons:
- Persons should be regularly tested for HIV – at least every six months
- The pill should be taken daily for the prescribed period
- Condoms should be used to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Persons should be screened periodically for these infections
- Ongoing education on risk prevention in relation to HIV and STIs
- Supportive counselling and support to reduce non-compliance
- The drug is effective if taken consistently.
- It prevents the virus from finding a home
- It eliminates or reduces panic for those who do not practice safe sex
- It decreases the number of new HIV infections
Harrriette Barker,PhD, RN, CHC