PrEP UP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)

A targeted program to prevent the contraction of the HIV infection when exposure has occurred, funded by Gilead Sciences

BASIC NWFL has welcomed a new program to the organization funded by Gilead Sciences entitled PrEP UP! BASIC has embarked on a journey promoting a new HIV prevention method know, as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent or control the spread of infection or disease. The goal of PrEP is to prevent the contraction of the HIV infection when exposure has occurred. This is done by taking one pill a day (Truvada) everyday, not to be confused with the morning-after pill. PrEP is targeted for men, women, and transwomen who are at risk for contracting the HIV infection through intercourse, and/or injecting drug use.

Studies have shown that when taken properly PrEP reduces the chance of infection by approximately 92 %. BASIC prevention staff is promoting this method along with condom use to ensure additional protection from STI’s. Studies have also shown that side effects only occurred in approximately 10 % of individuals who were actively being prescribed PrEP. Those side effects included nausea, diarrhea, tiredness, headache, and problems sleeping. In order to begin the PrEP regimen an individual must test negative for HIV, have an STI test, and have a creatinine test to ensure the kidneys are strong enough to withstand the drug. If it is determined that the individual is indeed a candidate for PrEP at that time an appointment with a physician will be set.

BASIC is able to assist with, doctor’s visits and lab orders in order to ease the financial burden. Although the prescriptions can be costly there are drug assistance programs in place to aid with the cost of the drug if an individual does not have health insurance. If you find yourself engaging in high risk behavior, or feel worried about your sexual relationships due to the possibility of contracting HIV.

For more information contact Valerie Hutchison at 850-785-1088 ext. 138 or Our PrEP Coordinator’s Cynthia Bulter-Rance at ext. 124 and Dione Patrick at ext. 114

Valerie Hutchison, Project Director