PrEP is in the news! Whether or not you noticed (we get it — so much to keep up with this year), we’re here with your update. As background, PrEP medication that, when taken correctly, is 99 percent effective at protecting an HIV-negative person from becoming HIV-positive if they come into contact with the virus through sex, and 70 percent effective at protecting HIV transmission through intravenous drug use.
Now Plans Must Cover PrEP
This summer the US government issued guidance that under the Affordable Care Act almost all insurance plans must cover both PrEP medication and the needed testing without cost sharing — meaning in most cases you won’t have a copay for PrEP or the testing.
More PrEP Ed for Women
Getting the word out that people with vaginas need PrEP too has long been a Nurx priority, so Team Nurx is very happy that the CDC launched #ShesWell, a campaign to educate women about PrEP and HIV prevention. “There a huge misconception that HIV is only a disease that afflicts gay men,” Dr. Jennifer Peña, Chief Medical Officer at Nurx, recently told SHAPE. “This pervasive cultural misconception has been a huge disservice to straight men, women, and non-binary people.” In fact, almost a quarter of people living with HIV in the US are women, according to the CDC.
Coming Soon: New HIV Prevention Options
Exciting research in the works means that PrEP is now available as a bimonthly injection and it may one day be available as a vaginal ring — which would be great options for people who have trouble remembering a daily pill. Even better: Researchers are still working to develop an HIV vaccine, and the developments in mRNA technology behind some of the COVID-19 vaccines could help speed the development of a shot to prevent HIV.
How to Know if PrEP is Right for You
It’s simple—if you think you might need to be on PrEP, you should have that conversation with your doctor, or by requesting PrEP through Nurx. “Any HIV-negative person who thinks they may be at risk for contracting HIV could be a good candidate for PrEP,” says Emily Rymland, DNP FNP-C AAHIVS-certified Director of Clinical Operations at Nurx. “If you have multiple partners, if you have sex with someone whose HIV status you’re not sure of, if you have one partner but aren’t sure of that person’s status or think they may not be monogamous, or if you inject drugs or have a partner who injects drugs you should have a conversation about PrEP.”
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