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January 12, 2015

Is PrEP right for you?

At The Damien Center, we're always looking for new tools to add to our HIV prevention toolbox. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is one of those tools. It's the new(er) kid on the HIV block, and we want you to be informed about what it is it, how it works, and if it might be the right prevention tool for you. The best way to figure that out? Check out our Q & A below and contact us today to keep the conversation about PrEP going. Jeremy Turner, our Director of Supportive Services, is available at 317.632.0123 ext. 254 or jturner@damien.org.

What is PrEP?
PrEP is a new HIV prevention approach where HIV-negative individuals use HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) medications to reduce their risk of becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus. The medications work to prevent HIV from establishing infection inside the body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Truvada, an HIV medication, for PrEP use in 2012.

Who does PrEP work for?
PrEP has been shown to reduce risk of HIV infection through sex for gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and heterosexual men and women, as well as among people who inject drugs. PrEP has been shown to help reduce HIV infection risk in multiple studies, including the iPrEx trial, Partners PrEP, TDF2, and the Bangkok Tenofovir Study.

How well does PrEP work?
Truvada for PrEP provides a significant reduction in HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals who take the pills every day as directed. If a daily dose is missed, the level of HIV protection may decrease. It only works if you take it. People who use PrEP correctly and consistently have higher levels of protection against HIV. It does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STI) or pregnancy and should still be used in conjunction with condoms. It is not a cure for HIV.

Is PrEP right for me?
PrEP may be right for you if you have a partner or partners known to be HIV-1 infected OR are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men in a high HIV prevalence area or social network and has one or more of the following conditions: a diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last year; exposure to an STI through a sexual network in the last year; 10 or more sexual partners in the last year; used methamphetamine in the last year; or had unprotected anal intercourse with a partner of unknown HIV-1 status with any of the factors listed above.

I think PrEP might be right for me. What's next?
If you’re interested in learning more on how to access PrEP, contact Jeremy Turner, Damien Center Director of Supportive Services, at 317.632.0123 ext. 254 or jturner@damien.org, or ask your physician about PrEP.