New York State Department of Health Announces Second Annual PrEP Aware Week

Social Media Campaign Will Raise Awareness of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis to Prevent HIV

State Distributes 15,000 PrEP Aware Face Masks

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 23, 2020) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that New York's second annual PrEP Aware Week will take place throughout the State from October 25-31, 2020. PrEP, or HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a pill (or medication) that people can take to promote their sexual health and prevent HIV. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PrEP Aware Week will be observed virtually this year and will feature social media posts developed by eight community ambassadors who take advantage of PrEP to promote their sexual health.

"Though our attention is focused on the pandemic response, we cannot forget other important public health measures, like PrEP," said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. "PrEP is an important pillar of New York State's effort to End the AIDS epidemic, and events like PrEP Aware Week help advance our message that PrEP is widely available, affordable, and effective."

The theme of PrEP Aware Week, 2020 is: "This is Why I PrEP". The theme recognizes that PrEP is an individualized approach to HIV prevention and sexual health, as outlined in updated clinical guidelines. "This is Why I PrEP" provides a broad umbrella for reaching all New Yorkers with tailored messages about PrEP that will speak to them as individuals and members of different, overlapping, diverse communities, to raise awareness of PrEP's availability and efficacy. It can be prescribed by any health care provider who can write a prescription, and is covered by most health insurance plans, with no cost sharing in New York State.

To help raise awareness of the availability of PrEP in the age of COVID-19, the Department of Health's AIDS Institute has worked with partner agencies to distribute 15,000 facemasks printed with the PrEP Aware logo. They are also distributing 10,000 Ask Me About PrEP buttons, 5,000 posters, and 40,000 brochures.

Each day of PrEP Aware Week the AIDS Institute will focus on celebrating how PrEP can work for New York's diverse residents, with an emphasis on intersectionality and speaking to how each individual's identity incorporates elements of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and ability.Daily social media posts will provide a broad umbrella for people to gather under and celebrate the rich heritage, identity and strengths of all of our communities.Community partners can join the AIDS Institute in celebrating a specific community on the designated day or may use any day of the week to focus on the communities they serve.

  • Sunday: Native American - This day celebrates Native American people of all ages, tribes, urban and reservation, sexual orientations, gender expressions and how they can PrEP to protect themselves and their families.
  • Monday: Men – This day celebrates cisgender and transgender men of all ages, races, ethnicities and sexual orientations and how men can use PrEP to promote sexual health for themselves and their partners.
  • Tuesday: People of Trans Experience – This day celebrates how PrEP can support sexual health for individuals who identify as transgender male, transgender female, non-binary, gender non-conforming, agender or gender neutral.
  • Wednesday: African American/ Black – This day celebrates African American/ Black people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnicities and how they can PrEP.
  • Thursday: Women – This day celebrates cisgender and transgender women of all races, sexual orientations, gender expressions and ages and how they can use PrEP to promote sexual health for themselves and their partners.
  • Friday: Latinx – This day celebrates Latinx cisgender and transgender individuals of all ages, races, sexual orientations, gender expressions and how they can PrEP.
  • Saturday: Asian Pacific Islander - This day celebrates Asian Pacific Islander people of all ages, sexual orientations, gender identities and how they can PrEP.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced aDepartment of Financial Services Circular Letter to New York-regulated health insurers, clarifying coverage for PrEP, for the prevention of HIV infection and related services. New York-regulated health insurers are required to provide coverage for PrEP at no cost-sharing when prescribed in accordance with the United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines.

Sexual health and intimacy are important, and PrEP provides additional protection to prevent the transmission of HIV. To learn more about PrEP Aware Week, visit