WANT TO STAY HIV - ?
CLINICAL SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Maui AIDS Foundation now has a PrEP and STI specialist on staff.
Office Hours Mondays – Thursdays: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Maui AIDS Foundation’s Clinical Services Department encompasses its PrEP Program and Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Program, both of which are offered at no cost to at-risk and underserved communities of Maui County. The PrEP program launched in February 2017 to provide case management and referrals for those seeking Truvada-for-Pre-Exposure-Prophylaxis services, and two months later MAF’s on-staff nurse practitioner started prescribing PrEP in-house. To augment these PrEP services along with those testing services offered by MAF’s Prevention Department, MAF partnered with the Hawaii Department of Health in February 2019 to offer free tests and treatments for chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Clinical Services Department maintains its own credentialing with insurance companies and has implemented its own electronic medical record system, however in alignment with MAF’s goal of offering free, comprehensive sexual health services for Maui County, it does not charge clients, patients or insurance for the services provided.
WHAT IS PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. A combination of two HIV medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine), sold under the name Truvada® (pronounced tru vá duh), is approved for daily use as PrEP to help prevent an HIV-negative person from getting HIV from a sexual or injection-drug-using partner who’s positive. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV if it is used as prescribed. PrEP is much less effective when it is not taken consistently.
WHY TAKE PrEP?
For those at very high risk for HIV, PrEP can significantly reduce your risk of HIV infection if taken daily. Daily PrEP use can lower the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70%. You can combine additional strategies with PrEP to reduce your risk even further.
IS PrEP A VACCINE?
No. PrEP does not work the same way as a vaccine. A vaccine teaches your body to fight off infection for several years. For PrEP, you take a pill every day by mouth. The pill that was shown to be safe and to help block HIV infection is called “Truvada” (pronounced tru vá duh). Truvada is a combination of two drugs (tenofovir and emtricitabine). If you take PrEP daily, the presence of the medicine in your bloodstream can often stop HIV from taking hold and spreading in your body. If you do not take PrEP every day, there may not be enough medicine in your bloodstream to block the virus.
SHOULD I CONSIDER TAKING PrEP?
PrEP is for people without HIV who are at very high risk for getting it from sex or injection drug use. The federal guidelines recommend that PrEP be considered for people who are HIV-negative and in an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner.
This recommendation also includes anyone who isn’t in a mutually monogamous* relationship with a partner who recently tested HIV-negative, and is a gay or bisexual man who has had anal sex without using a condom or been diagnosed with an STD in the past 6 months, or heterosexual man or woman who does not regularly use condoms during sex with partners of unknown HIV status who are at substantial risk of HIV infection (for example, people who inject drugs or women who have bisexual male partners).
PrEP is also recommended for people who have injected drugs in the past 6 months and have shared needles or works or been in drug treatment in the past 6 months.
If you have a partner who is HIV-positive and are considering getting pregnant, talk to your doctor about PrEP if you’re not already taking it. PrEP may be an option to help protect you and your baby from getting HIV infection while you try to get pregnant, during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
Because PrEP involves daily medication and regular visits to a health care provider, it may not be right for everyone. And PrEP may cause side effects like nausea in some people, but these generally subside over time. These side effects aren’t life threatening. See Is PrEP safe?
* Mutually monogamous means that you and your partner only have sex with each other and do not have sex outside the relationship.
HOW WELL DOES PrEP WORK?
Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% when used consistently. Among people who inject drugs, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 70% when used consistently.