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Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP is a medication that was created in 2012 to aid in the prevention of the spread of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.

  • Origin
  • Pricing & Availability
  • Promotion
  • Response

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PrEP is a medication that helps HIV negative people stay HIV negative. The once daily pill helps individuals that may come into contact with the HIV virus reduce their risk of obtaining the virus. With this being said, the medication stops the virus from working itself inside the body. In 2012, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for PrEP use. “This medication is taken as a once-daily oral pill, which combines two medicines in one: Emtriva (also called emtricitabine or FTC) and Viread (also called tenofovir disoproxil fumarate or TDF). Truvada works by blocking an enzyme called HIV reverse transcriptase. By blocking this enzyme, it prevents HIV from making more copies of itself in the body”(Men.prepfacts.org, 2017).  Moreover, there are other medications being tested for PrEP use, but they’ve yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The CDC, center for disease control, recommends PrEP for gay and bisexual men, heterosexuals that have an HIV positive partner, or have multiple partners, and people that share needles while injecting drugs.

PrEP is also only effective if it is taken daily, on and off use decreases its effect. There are little to no side effects known, other than nausea primarily. There have been no life threatening side effects reported with PrEP use. PrEP should not be used to treat HIV or Aids as it is a prevention method. If you already have these diseases, you must see a healthcare professional to get the proper treatment.

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The price of PrEP can be free, with insurance, and up to $2,000 without insurance. PrEP also can only be prescribed by a healthcare provider as it is not an over the counter medication. “The cost of PrEP is covered by many health insurance plans, and various commercial medication assistance program provides free PrEP to people with limited income and no insurance to cover PrEP care”(Hiv.gov, 2017). Gilead Sciences, the company that produces Truvada for the public, is behind this assistance program. In order to receive this assistance you must call the company to see if you qualify. In order to qualify for this assistance you must not be enrolled in a federally funded drug program.

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Although there was no promotion of PrEP by the pharmaceutical company that created it right away, local health agencies began promoting it to at risk populations quickly. In 2016, four years after the Food & Drug Administration initially approved the drug for use, PrEP begins to be promoted to the public. The company behind PrEP, Gilead Sciences, placed advertisements in dating apps, social media apps, and even public transportation.

There has been a mixed response to PrEP becoming widely available among the public for a variety of different reasons. Some have been skeptical of the side effects of the drug, while others are skeptical altogether of its prevention against HIV. A common theory among most of the skeptics against PrEP is that its use will cause more people to be irresponsible. Critics insist that PrEP use will encourage the public to rid of safe sex mechanisms like condoms.  PrEP in addition to condom use is suppose to dramatically reduce the risk of getting HIV.

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Image Source: http://www.opsi-network.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/prEp-AIDS.jpg

Suggested Further Reading

PrEP Locator

PrEP Watch 

AIDS.gov

 

— BM

BM is currently a student in WMST 595, Sexing the Body. Chime in with your thoughts in the comments section!