Did you know?
- 1 in 4 new HIV infections affect youth ages 13 to 24
- EVERY month, 1,000 young people are infected with HIV
- Over 76,400 young people are currently living with HIV across the country
If you’re sexually active, the best ways to reduce your risk for HIV are to know your HIV status and your partner’s status, and using barrier methods every time you have sex (ex: condoms, dental dams). If you or your partner tests HIV+, there are ways for both of you to stay healthy with medicines like PrEP and PEP.
What exactly is PrEP?
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is for people who are HIV negative and engage in behavior that puts them at high riskfor HIV. The medication is taken once daily to lower their chances of getting infected.
- PrEP is extremely successful in preventing HIV when used as prescribed, but like any prescription, it is much less effective when it’s not taken consistently.
What is PEP?
- PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine you can take AFTER being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.
- PEP is most effective when taken within 72 hours of possibly being exposed to HIV.
How would I know if I was HIV+?
- Like most STDs you or your partner can have HIV and not know it. The best way to know is to get tested instead of waiting for symptoms that may never show.
- HIV tests usually use blood samples. But, if you’re afraid of needles many teen friendly clinics offer rapid testing using a sample from a cheek swab.
How would I get PrEP or PEP if I need it?
- If you have health insurance, you can check with your doctor to see if the medicines are covered.
- Have insurance through your parents? Since they own the insurance policy, the insurance company often sends some of your confidential health info—like the name of your provider and the services you receive and when—to your parent.
- If you have health insurance under your parent, you can contact your insurance company and submit a Confidential Communications Request (CCR) form to protect your health info.
- The CCR basically allows for YOUR health info to stop being sent to the policyholder and instead start being sent to you at the address you feel most comfortable.
For more info on CCR and how to keep your health info confidential, visit www.myhealthmyinfo.org/faq
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.