Local health official discusses importance of PrEP Awareness Week

Local health official discusses importance of PrEP Awareness Week

(WETM-TV) — During the last week, Oct. 20-26, New York State Department of Health AIDS instituted Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Awareness Week.

PrEP in a 99% effective prevention pill that is used to prevent the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The pill has been around since 2012.

“Taking PrEP is a great way to take control of your sexual health for yourself,” said Autumn Cook, Specialist at Arnot Health. “It’s something you can do regardless what you’re partner is doing.”

Cook told 18 News anyone can take PrEP as long as they are negative for HIV. At Arnot Health, they require a negative test before they prescribe another prescription. Cook also said the pill is not enough to treat HIV though.

When taking these precautionary measures, a stigma has been formed around taking the medication.

“A lot of stigma about if you are taking prep is that you’re very promiscuous,” Cook said. “PrEP is a way for people to reduce their anxiety around HIV so they don’t have to worry so much about it when they’re trying to be with a partner.”

Cook said no one should feel embarrassed for taking the daily pills and no one even has to know that you are.

“A conversation with your partner is still important,” Cook said. “When were you last tested for HIV? and if you’re positive, what is your viral load? Are you undetectable? Being undetectable is when you have the virus but it can’t be transmitted to someone else.”

For more information about getting prescribed PrEP, be sure to contact your local health care provider and be sure to follow Arnot Health Ivy center on Instagram at @IVYCenter4.

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