More than Just Condoms
The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wants more New Yorkers to know they can PrEP themselves against HIV. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis is a new drug treatment that can be taken by people at a higher risk for HIV, like those who have a partner with the disease.
Dr. Demetre Daskalakis with the Bureau of HIV Prevention and Control said it is taken daily, like birth control, and can significantly lower the the chance of contracting the virus. He says it is a new option in the prevention toolkit.
“We never really had a harm-reduction approach other than condoms, so this is just adding another piece to the story, saying that we acknowledge that there may be risk,” Daskalakis said. “How do I know that? People get HIV.”
A recent survey in New York City found nearly 60% of men who have sex with men (MSM’s) did not know about PrEP.
Now posters and other messages will be spreading the message to MSM’s that there is more to HIV prevention than just condoms.
“New York City has wrapped the entire city in latex. We will continue to wrap the entire city in latex,” Daskalakis said. “But this [campaign] is actually saying ‘there is a big toolkit, and let’s teach you to use every part of it.”