Letter: We can talk about HIV and prevent it with PrEP

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’ve been an advocate for HIV treatment and prevention for a number of years. I’m especially passionate about PrEP, a once-a-day pill to prevent HIV. Let’s talk about it! HIV needs to be brought back to the forefront because the media and broader community don’t give it the attention it needs.

In 2012, the FDA approved PrEP (preexposure prophylaxis) for HIV. Folks who do not have HIV can take PrEP to prevent HIV acquisition. PrEP protects the person from contracting HIV but does not cover other sexually transmitted infections, so we still push the use of condoms.

We have providers of this medication all over the state, especially here in Asheville, where you can contact WNCAP (Western NC AIDS Project). I live in Cherokee, and we have one provider at the IHS (Indian Health Service) that can get people started.

If we’re going to end the epidemic, we are all going to have to pull together, talk about HIV, talk about PrEP for protection and talk about sex. It’s not a taboo subject anymore; it’s on the table now and needs to be addressed. If you think you would be a good candidate for PrEP, do some research and reach out to your medical provider!

— Jeffrey Long
WNCAP Community Advisory Board co-chairman and
NC AIDS Action Network advocate



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