Let's Talk About PrEP Baby!
I was compensated by Med-IQ to write about HIV. All opinions are my own.
Let’s talk about PrEP baby, let's talk about you and me *cue Salt-N-Pepa*. Seriously, let’s talk guys.
About a month ago, Med-IQ, an accredited medical education company that provides educational experiences for healthcare professionals, approached me about educating women on pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP. Now if you are familiar with PrEP, then you’re in the right place--we are going to get right into it. But if you come here often, you know that sex and sexual health are not topics I have covered on my platform, but you also may know that I have a background in health and science so educating especially women on wellness topics, whatever they may be, was really important for me.
What is PrEP?
So here is the tea- you probably have already heard of PrEP! I had but I truly never paid attention to it because it really was not marketed to me. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool that includes both a daily pill and regular visits with your doctor. The medication in the pill prevents HIV infection in people who do not have HIV but are at substantial risk of getting it by keeping the virus from establishing a permanent infection.
Now maybe you’re thinking “this isn’t for me, I’m not at risk of contracting HIV” but let’s be real, that may not necessarily be true. Did you know that blacks/African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses and people living with HIV, compared to other races/ethnicities? Did you know that although blacks/African Americans only make up 12% of the US population, 44% of new HIV diagnoses in 2017 were in blacks/African Americans? Although the number of women who have contracted HIV has decreased over the last 10 years, in 2015, 59% of women living with HIV were African American. These numbers are frightening but they are real.
I’m not here to tell you to go on PrEP or convince you that you need it, but I do want to educate you on the risks we face as African American women. In the past, the best way to prevent contracting HIV if you were sexually active was to use a condom (male or female), limit your sexual partners and get tested before you became sexually active with a new partner. All of these methods required the participation of your partner. But what if he or she didn’t have a condom or was sexually active before both of you were tested? While I strongly encourage you not to proceed in a sexual relationship without taking these precautions, if you do and you are on PrEP, your chances of contracting the virus are reduced by more than 90%!
Even if you are still unsure about PrEP I strongly encourage you to do a little more research. PrEP is just another way for us as women to take even more charge of our own sexual health, and the more we know the more we can help educate others. If interested in learning more about PrEP speak with your primary care provider. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a ton of information and provides you with primary care providers in the area who prescribe PrEP. I realize that even now the topic of HIV and AIDS can feel taboo but don’t let that stop you from taking control of your health. Your PCP is there to advocate and provide the best form of care for you so they should want and be willing to tell you more about PrEP.
Paying for PrEP
Another great thing about PrEP is that it may be covered by your insurance. Like any and all services and medications, the prices will vary from insurance to insurance but you can find more information about that through the CDC as well.
Med-IQ is currently conducting a survey and would appreciate your input. The survey, which includes more education on this topic, will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Survey responses are anonymous and will be shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide us with important information about how women communicate with their physicians about their sexual health. The insights gained from the survey will be used in an educational tool to provide information that may be useful in keeping the lines of communication open with healthcare teams.
Once you've completed the survey, you’ll be asked to provide your email address if you’d like to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 8 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will not be sold, kept, or stored; email addresses are used only to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
Thank you for taking the time to read this through and allowing me to do what I love and educate on wellness. Here’s to more health and sex-positive conversations!
—> Survey Link <—
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