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HIV-Prevention Medication Shows Promise in Ohio

Pre-Exposure prophylaxis can be up to 98 percent effective at preventing HIV infections. (Pixabay)
Pre-Exposure prophylaxis can be up to 98 percent effective at preventing HIV infections. (Pixabay)
August 7, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Health care advocates in Ohio are excited about a promising treatment to prevent the spread of HIV.

Pre-Exposure prophylaxis, called PrEP, is a medication regimen that includes an anti-viral medication commonly used to treat those already diagnosed with HIV.

Lindsay Marcus, program coordinator for the AIDS Funding Collaborative, explains PrEP can be up to 98 percent effective, which far exceeds the effective rates of condoms. And she says it's just one pill a day.

"Condoms are still encouraged, continued HIV testing, STI testing, and there is some additional medical examinations that are required so that individuals know that they are remaining HIV negative and healthy on this medication," she states.

Marcus says the ability to get a prescription for the PrEP regimen is relatively easy, and suggests people who believe they might be at a higher risk for HIV to speak with their doctor or a local health care clinic.

Nearly 20,000 Ohioans are living with HIV, and there were more than 900 new cases in 2015.

A statewide Let's Talk about PrEP campaign was launched a couple of years ago to raise awareness about the prevention tool, and Marcus says the state is seeing positive effects.

The campaign recently expanded into Cuyahoga County where, she says, web traffic increased from 126 visitors in May to more than 7,700 in July. She says the AIDS Funding Collaborative will continue its efforts in the coming months.

"We're looking forward to really scaling up this great opportunity to have a really strong response to the HIV epidemic both here in Cleveland, around the state, and contributing to the larger response nationally and worldwide," she states.

Marcus notes resources are available online at Ohioprep.org, including a risk-calculator, and provider and insurance coverage information.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH