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City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Everyone who is sexually active should talk to a doctor about PrEP

Berkeley, California (Thursday, June 27, 2019) - Anyone who is sexually active should use a database to find a sexual healthcare provider, talk to their own provider and learn about PrEP - a once-a-day pill that dramatically reduces the risk of being infected with HIV.

The daily pill regimen, an acronym for "pre-exposure prophylaxis," has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV by 90%. PrEP is available only by prescription and must be taken every day for HIV prevention.

To be most effective, PrEP should be combined with other prevention tools like condoms, which also protect against other sexually transmitted infections.  

"One pill a day can prevent the spread of HIV and ultimately save lives," said Kelly Wallace, Interim Director of the Health, Housing and Community Services Department. "Anyone who is sexually active should be aware of it - and we hope they'll also spread the word."

The CDC database of public and private PrEP providers can help you find a provider if you don't have one.  

HIV, an acronym for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, destroys cells that fight disease and infection. This weakening of the immune system, if untreated, can progress to the most severe stage of the infection, AIDS, during which they get an increasing number of severe illnesses. Most commonly, HIV spreads to uninfected people through sex with or sharing syringes with someone infected with HIV.

From 2013 through 2017, the number of persons in California living with diagnosed HIV infection increased from approximately 124,235 to over 135,000.  In the City of Berkeley, there were 14 new cases of HIV in 2017 for a total of 488 persons living with diagnosed HIV, according to Berkeley Public Health data.

Not all people infected with HIV experience symptoms. Only testing can confirm HIV infection. Prevention is the best strategy. 

PrEP does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections, for which proper condom use during sex is the most effective. Ways to reduce risks of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections include abstinence, limiting your number of sex partners, and never sharing needles.

There are many barriers to people obtaining health care and seeking preventative care including

Lack of health insurance, racial inequity, and stigma all prevent adequate health care. Fortunately, there are many local services to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Berkeley Public Health provides prevention services for sexually transmitted infections, including free to low-cost testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

Take charge of your health. Use the CDC's PrEP provider database to find someone to talk to. Talk to your own provider about PrEP today to see whether PrEP is right for you.  


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