The first day of December is World AIDS Day, providing an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, support people living with HIV, and remember people who have died. It also provides an opportunity to increase awareness of and support for prevention tools, including the use of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV.
A person who does not have HIV uses PrEP to prevent themselves from becoming infected if they are exposed to the virus. The medication (Truvada) is taken once a day, and it works by limiting HIV’s ability to enter into and grow within a person’s body. When used correctly, PrEP has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing HIV. PrEP is just one tool that will reduce transmission rates of HIV. Other forms of prevention include testing, counseling, adherence to treatment among people living with HIV, and education.
|Dr. Mark Thrun|
“PrEP is not prescribed lightly, and we require the person using it to commit to counseling, correct use, and routine HIV and medical testing,” says Mark Thrun, MD, director, HIV/STD Prevention and Control, Denver Public Health. “But when we have this commitment, we know that PrEP is incredibly effective in keeping those at increased risk for HIV free from infection.”
Denver Public Health recommends PrEP for people who do not have HIV infection and are at increased risk for HIV, including:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men who engage in unprotected sex.
- HIV-negative individuals (men and women) who have an HIV-positive sexual partner.
- Injection drug users.