Skip to main content

PrEP for a Healthy Pride

Pride Wellness Center - June 2024

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States could benefit from medication to prevent infection with HIV. But fewer than 25% of them are taking it, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The medication, known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), is a treatment that at-risk people can take regularly to virtually eliminate their chance of picking up HIV from contact. 

“PrEP greatly lowers the risk of HIV in those who may be exposed from sexual contact or drug use,” said Dr. Barry S. Zingman, Medical Director of Jacobs Family Pride Wellness Center of Montefiore Nyack Hospital and Medical Director of the AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center. 

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). PrEP can be taken as a daily pill, “on-demand,” or as a bimonthly injectable medicine.

Who Should Take PrEP?

Dr. Zingman recommends PrEP for people if they:

•    have an HIV-positive partner, especially if the person doesn’t have their HIV well-controlled 
•    have multiple sexual partners, especially if they are not using condoms at every encounter
•    have had another sexually transmitted infection in the last year or two, such as chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhea

How is PrEP given?

There are three forms:

•    A pill that is taken daily 
•    A pill that is taken “on demand” (around the times you have sex)
•    An injection into the muscle every three months

“All of these forms are popular, and we work with each individual to figure out which best fits their circumstance,” Dr. Zingman said. “The vast majority of people have no side effects from any form of PrEP.”

A person should take PrEP during periods in their lives when their risk for HIV may be higher, Dr. Zingman said. They should continue it for as long as their risk is elevated. “For example, if you’re sexually active now, you should use it. But if you go through a time when you’re not sexually active for a long time, or you’re in a monogamous relationship with someone who’s HIV-negative and confident neither of you will have sex with someone else, then you could stop,” he said.

Release Date