On World AIDS Day, PrEP to Stop HIV Transmission

December 1, 2017

ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rank Georgia fifth in the nation for adults and adolescents living with HIV. On World AIDS Day, DPH encourages men and women at high risk for getting HIV to speak with their health care provider about using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), condoms and other measures as part of their HIV-prevention plan.

“If taken as prescribed, PrEP reduces the chance of HIV infection by more than 90 percent in those exposed through sex and by more than 70 percent in those exposed through injection drug use,” said Gregory Felzien, M.D., AAHIVS, medical advisor for the Division of Health Protection.

PrEP is a pill taken daily by HIV negative individuals before contact with someone who is HIV positive. PrEP contains two HIV prevention medicines that are used in combination with other HIV medicines for the treatment of HIV. These medicines work together to keep the virus from taking hold inside the body when someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use.

“PrEP is a powerful HIV-prevention tool, and when it is combined with condoms, it reduces the risk of acquiring other sexually transmitted diseases,” said Felzien. “When it is combined with routine HIV testing, it provides even greater protection.”

Individuals who use PrEP must commit to taking the pill every day, and they must see their health care provider every three months. PrEP is not a cure for HIV.

DPH urges those at high risk for HIV infection to locate a PrEP clinic through Georgia CAPUS or Care and Prevention in the United States (https://www.gacapus.com/r/resource-directory-2/). With a health care provider, individuals can decide whether PrEP should be a part of their HIV-prevention plan.

The DPH Office of HIV/AIDS works to reduce the spread of HIV through prevention, HIV screening, education, community collaboration and by promptly identifying HIV-positive clients and linking them to medical care and support services. For more information, including PrEP resources, visit dph.georgia.gov/linkage-care.