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> PrEP to Help End the HIV Emidemic 2018-07-24

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

For more information contact:
Samantha Hillson 607-274-6600

HIV: PrEP to Help End the Epidemic

Did you know that there is a pill/medication that can be taken daily to lower one’s risk of HIV infection? The medication is called PrEP, pre-exposure prophylaxis. Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.

How do I know if PrEP is right for me? If you answer yes to any of the following questions PrEP might be right for you.

  • Do you have sex with multiple partners?
  • Do you have sex without condoms?
  • Do you know the HIV status of your sexual partners?
  • Are you having sex with a person living with HIV infection?
  • Are you a transgender person having sex without condoms?
  • Do you ever have sex for drugs, food, money, housing, transportation, etc.?
  • Are you a person who injects drugs or hormones with others?
  • Do you use stimulant drugs such as methamphetamine?
  • Have you been diagnosed with more than one STI in the last year?
  • Have you used PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in the last year?
  • Are you trying to conceive a child with a person living with HIV infection?

A “yes” (or a concern about getting HIV for some other reason) means that PrEP is for you.

PrEP is an excellent form of prevention, but because nothing is 100% effective, it is important to know and reduce your risk. You can combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods.

There are a variety of ways to pay for PrEP medication.

  • NYS Medicaid and Medicare pay for the medication plus costs related to medical appointments and any lab tests.
  • Most private insurances also cover the cost of being on PrEP. If you have a high cost plan, or are under or uninsured, NYS has an assistance program (PrEP-AP) to help with the cost of office visit and lab costs if your income is below 435% of the federal poverty level.
  • To assist in covering the cost of the medication itself, the PrEP manufacturer, Gilead, has a copay coupon program for people, regardless of income. They also have a medication coverage program for those with no insurance. There are other co-pay coupon programs available as well.
  • If you need assistance navigating your payment options you can visit the NYS DOH page; or contact the NYS DOH AIDS Hotline at 1-800-542-2437.

PrEP medication is a breakthrough because it is one pill a day that has few side effects. A conversation with your doctor is the best way to get personalized information.

“Even if PrEP does not apply to you, please let others know! Community awareness is important! If you think you might be at risk of getting HIV, speak with your healthcare practitioner. Get tested for HIV so you know your status and take action whether you are positive or negative. Medication can save your life and prevent you from giving the virus to others,” states Dr. Klepack, Medical Director of the Tompkins County Health Department.

If you have questions about PrEP, eligibility, payment, or finding a provider close to you, a local resource is the Planned Parenthood’s PrEP Coordinator at 607-273-1526 ext. 2310 or If you are a health care practitioner interested in providing PrEP services, you can also contact Planned Parenthood for assistance accessing clinical resources, training, and assistance with starting a PrEP program at your office.

To learn more about ending the epidemic:

To find out more information about risk factors and PrEP, go to:

Check out the Health Department online, Follow us on Facebook at and Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.