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Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Who do I contact to start talking about PrEP?

Contact Shey Thorn, he is available Monday thru Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. He can assist you with any and all questions or concerns regarding PrEP:

 

Shey Thorn- Director of Prevention and Outreach

AIDS Alabama South

4321 Downtowner Loop N.

Mobile, AL. 36609

Email: shey.thorn@aidsalabama.org

Phone: (205) 918-8224

What is PrEP?

PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis- which essentially means a pill to be taken before you are exposed/ come in contact with HIV. PrEP is a once daily pill that will greatly reduce your risk of acquiring HIV. Currently, there are two different regimens to take as PrEP, Truvada and Descovy. PrEP is meant for individuals who are at a high risk of contracting HIV. If you would like to discuss your risk factors and see if PrEP is right for you, contact Shey Thorn- Director of Prevention and Outreach.

 

*Descovy has not yet been proven effective in vaginally receptive individuals.

 

How effective is PrEP?

When taken as prescribed, once daily, PrEP is widely considered to be 99% effective in reducing your risk of contracting HIV. PrEP takes 7 days of daily use to be effective when engaging in anal sex, and 20 days to be effective when engaging in vaginal sex. PrEP is NOT intended to be used in mass dosages or only on days when you anticipate having sex. It is important to note: PrEP is not effective in preventing any other Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Does PrEP have side effects?

Most people do not present with any side effects from taking PrEP. Some, 1 out of 10, people have reported minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, and weight loss that typically goes away within the first few weeks of taking PrEP. There have been reports of a very small amount of people having minor kidney problems- these side effects went away when PrEP was stopped. Minor bone loss from taking PrEP has also been reported in a very small number of individuals. It is important to have open and transparent conversations with your Prescribing Physician to help eliminate any fears you may have about PrEP or it’s side effects. Also, it is important to remain in care and be seen every three months to ensure that PrEP is working for your body the way it should.

What do I need to do to get on PrEP?

  1. Come to AIDS Alabama South for free, confidential, rapid HIV testing. A person must first test negative for HIV before they can begin taking PrEP.

  2. Know your risk. PrEP is intended for individuals who are at the highest risk of contracting HIV such as Same Gender Loving Men, Men who have sex with Men, individuals who have multiple sexual partners, individuals who do not know their partner’s status or sexual history, individuals who have unprotected sexual encounters, and individuals who have sex for drugs, food, money, or something they need. Remember, you can speak with Shey Thorn when you come to get tested to see if PrEP is right for you.

  3. Schedule an appointment with our Healthcare Provider- our PrEP Navigator will assist you with the steps to see our Provider so that you can get on PrEP.

  4. Maintain appointments with our Providers every three months to ensure that PrEP is working for you as it should.

  5. Take your medication- one pill, once daily, until you and the Provider decide you no longer need it.

Is PrEP expensive?

PrEP, much like any ART (Anti-Retroviral Therapy), can be quite expensive. Luckily, PrEP is FDA approved and therefore covered by most insurance policies. If your insurer does not cover PrEP, or you do not have insurance, our PrEP Navigator can assist you in applying for payment and co-pay assistance programs to cover a portion or all of the cost of PrEP. DO NOT LET THE WORRY OF PAYING FOR PrEP STOP YOU. We have ways to help and will do whatever we can to get you the assistance you deserve.

Now that I know about PrEP, where can I get it?

At AIDS Alabama South we have a PrEP Navigator, Prescribing Physician, and a Ship-to-Home pharmacy. We can be your one stop shop when it comes to receiving PrEP.

 

Tell me more about the Ship-to-Home Pharmacy!

 We have partnered with two incredible specialty Pharmacies, PharmBlue and Avita. Through these partnerships we have the ability to get you enrolled into the pharmacy program from our office and get your prescription filled and sent to your doorstep. This means you will never have to step foot in another pharmacy again. We’ve got you covered.

 

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

What is PEP?

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a two-pill regimen taken daily for 28 days. PEP is intended for individuals who have recently come in contact with HIV and are at the highest risk of contracting the virus. PEP can only be prescribed within 72 hours of exposure- so the time to act is NOW! If you believe you have come in contact with HIV in any way, contact Dr. Thomasina Sharpe at North Baldwin Primary Plus- (251) 937-7100. If you have any trouble getting to speak with the Dr. call Shey Thorn immediately at (205)918-8224.

 

Is PEP for me?

PEP is Prescribed to an HIV- negative individual who has come into contact with HIV within the last 72 hours. If you wait too long to get PEP, you could fall outside of the time frame and your risk of contracting HIV could be heightened.

Who should take PEP?

Anyone who has recently had a high-risk exposure to HIV. The sooner the better. If you fit into any of the below categories, within the past 2-3 days, please consider PEP:

  • Unprotected sex with an individual that you do not know their HIV status

  • Unprotected sex with an HIV+ partner who is not on effective treatment and does not have an undetectable viral load.

  • Sharing injection drug using needles with other individuals that you do not know the HIV status of.

  • A victim of Sexual assault

  • Workplace accidents such as healthcare workers who suffer a needle-stick injury.

Since PEP does not guarantee 100% protection from HIV, PEP is not to be used as a prevention method for HIV. Safe sex, the usage of condoms, having open conversations with your partner about each of your sexual health, and PrEP are the best and most effective prevention methods.

 

I need PEP, what do I do?

If you have recently experienced exposure to HIV- seek immediate medical attention. It is suggested to go to the nearest emergency room or seek medical attention from your Primary Care physician. If neither of these are a comfortable option for you, you can call or go see Dr. Thomasina Sharpe at North Baldwin Primary Plus- (251) 937-7100 108C McMeans Ave, Bay Minette, AL 36507. If Dr. Thomasina or her team are unavailable for any reason please call or email Shey Thorn (205) 918-8224, shey.thorn@aidsalabama.org

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© 2020 by AIDS Alabama South, LLC

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