H.I.V. Pre-Exposure Intervention Call Center Now Available in MS

Friday, the Mississippi State Department of Health (M.S.D.H.), in collaboration with the American Sexual Health Association, announces the availability of a new toll-free call center with information and referrals for those interested in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a prevention option for those at high risk of contracting HIV.

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.

While the M.S.D.H. 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 M.S.D.H. 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.

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.

For more information on PrEP, contact the call center at 1-844-YES-PREP or ask your healthcare provider.

Follow M.S.D.H. by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.

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