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Keeping HIV Out of the Body: New State Health Dept. Phone Line Offers Info On Anti-HIV Pill

JACKSON, Miss.–There’s a new drug that could keep HIV from spreading through the body. It’s called Truvada and the state Health Dept. has a new hotline that offers info on the pill. It’s called the PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis call center.

It’s to help people who are at a high risk of being exposed to HIV, the disease which leads to AIDS. The Miss. Dept. of Health has partnered with the American Sexual Health Assoc. to create the new call center. The toll free line is 1-844-YES PREP.

Mississippi is the first in the nation to provide this service for its residents, and health officials hope that HIV rates will gradually decrease through the increased knowledge of intervention options available, said a news release from MSDH.

While the MSDH does not provide PrEP at its HIV treatment clinics, the call center can now link those who qualify to providers who do offer it.

“PrEP is a high-impact intervention for HIV negative individuals who participate in risky behavior,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “When taken every day, PrEP can provide a high level of protection against HIV, and is even more effective when it is combined with condoms and other prevention tools.”

PrEP involves taking a pill orally every day. The pill that has been shown to be safe and to help block HIV infection is called Truvada, a combination of the two drugs tenofovir and emtricitabine. If PrEP is taken daily, the presence of the medicine in the bloodstream can often stop HIV spreading in the body, said the Health Dept.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in several studies, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infections in people who are at high risk by more than 90 percent for those who took the medicines consistently than for those who didn’t take the medicines.

PrEP is covered by most insurance programs, but if you do not have insurance, your health care provider can talk to you about drug assistance programs that help pay for PrEP medicine.

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