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

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) Can Prevent HIV Among New Yorkers at Risk of HIV

State to Promote PrEP and Sexual Health on Social Media Through "Portrait of PrEP" Ambassadors

Learn More About PrEP Aware Week Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 28, 2022) – The New York State Department of Health today announced the State's fourth annual PrEP Aware Week is currently taking place October 24-31, 2022. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is medication that can prevent HIV and promote sexual health for New Yorkers who are at risk of HIV.

"PrEP medications are proven to be highly effective in preventing HIV transmission and curbing the spread of HIV," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said."PrEP also helps to ensure positive and respectful sexual relationships by encouraging open conversations between intimate partners and with medical providers. I urge all New Yorkers to learn about this safe, accessible and affordable HIV prevention method."

PrEP is for anyone who is HIV negative, but at risk of contracting HIV, whether they are straight, gay, bisexual, male, female, transgender or gender non-conforming individuals. New York's PrEP Aware Week is aimed at boosting awareness and knowledge of PrEP as an HIV prevention tool and a means of promoting sexual health. The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) defines being sexually healthy as, among other things, having access to sexual health information, education, care and treatment, and trying to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV.

The 2022 PrEP Aware Week campaign, "Portraits of PrEP," is focused on the use of social media to encourage widespread sharing of information about this essential HIV prevention method. The campaign includes images and videos of eight ambassadors from across the State who reflect New York's diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation. The ambassadors have wide and deep connections within the communities they represent and will advocate for PrEP and sexual health across their personal social media platforms. Resources for the public to use and share on their own social platforms, including images, videos and messages from the ambassadors, can be accessed through the PrEP Aware Week 2022 Social Media Toolkit.

PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission and is safe, widely available and affordable for people who are HIV negative and not living with HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications for PrEP for HIV, which have little to no side effects: the oral medications Truvada and Descovy and the injectable medication Apretude. The NYS Clinical Guidelines Program offers clinicians up to date practice recommendations for PrEP for HIV Prevention and Sexual Health and individuals seeking these medications should consult with their medical provider about which one would be ideal for them, or they can find a PrEP provider here.

Medicaid and most insurance plans cover all costs for oral PrEP, which include appointment fees, lab tests and medication. Additionally, the Department offers a PrEP Assistance Program (PrEP-AP), which includes information about payment options and drug manufacturers offer assistance, as well.

The PrEP Aware Week campaign is funded through the Department's AIDS Institute, which is committed to eliminating transmission and improving the health and wellbeing of persons living with HIV, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted disease, individuals who use drugs and LGBTQ+ people.

The Institute's Clinical Education Initiative is also offering daily webinars during PrEP Aware Week for healthcare providers to enhance their capacity to deliver high quality services and to improve patient health outcomes. Information and registration details are available on the CEI website.

New Yorkers can learn more about PrEP here, PrEP Aware Week here, and download the PrEP Fact Sheet here.