HIV is a lethal virus that compromises your well-being by attacking your immune system. Without proper treatment, HIV can develop into AIDS, putting your health at risk. For effective HIV prevention, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is the most successful method. With PrEP, you can take control of your health and reduce your risk of contracting HIV. To take control of your health and prevent the risks of transmission, Equality Health Group‘s PrEP treatment for HIV protection in Norman, OK is a good place to start! Are you ready to take proactive steps toward bettering your health? Call us now!
Understanding PrEP in HIV Prevention
PrEP, or Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, is an effective HIV prevention strategy. If you’re at risk of an HIV infection, PrEP significantly lowers your chances of getting it. For PrEP to be effective, you must take a daily medication that prevents HIV from spreading in your body. There is also an option for bi-monthly injections.
At Equality Health Group in Norman, OK,, we use the following pre-exposure prophylaxis medication–
- Truvada is for all people who are at risk of HIV transmission through unprotected sex or injecting drugs. It has a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate. Truvada blocks HIV replication in the body to create a barrier against HIV.
- Descovy is for sexually active men and transgender women at risk of getting HIV. It contains tenofovir alafenamide and emtricitabine. Similar to Truvada, Descovy also hinders HIV replication.
- Apretude is a long-acting injectable PrEP drug suitable for people at risk of HIV from sex who weigh at least 35 kgs. This is an injection you will get in the office every 2 months. No pills required.
PrEP holds crucial importance in reducing the risk of transmission. PrEP minimizes the chances of getting HIV from sex by about 99% if you take it as prescribed. Similarly, PrEP also lowers the risk of HIV by at least 74% among people who inject drugs.
PrEP Eligibility and Assessment in Norman, OK
Before starting PrEP medication here in Norman, you must fulfill certain eligibility criteria. At Equality Health Group, we recommend PrEP for people who–
- Engage in unprotected sex with people of unknown HIV status
- Have sexual partners with HIV
- Have had an STD in the last 6 months
- Use injection drugs
- Are commercial sex workers
- Have been prescribed PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and report continued risk behavior
- Have used multiple PEP courses of PEP
- Or anyone who feels they would benefit from PrEP
Before prescribing PrEP medication, we prioritize your comprehensive assessment through a series of tests–
- HIV Testing – You must be HIV-negative to start PrEP medication. We run approved HIV testing methods to confirm your status before starting the HIV treatment.
- STI Screening – We recommend testing for STIs because if you’re at risk for HIV, you may also be at risk for other STIs.
- Kidney Function Test – Since PrEP medication can affect kidney function, it is crucial to make sure your kidneys are in good condition before starting them. This test involves examining the performance of your kidneys through a blood sample.
- Hepatitis B Screening – You need to be careful taking certain PrEP medications if you have Hepatitis B. Therefore, we run a Hepatitis B screening to make sure you don’t have it.
At Equality Health Group in Norman, we make special considerations for pregnant individuals and adolescents when prescribing PrEP. We tailor all our treatment plans according to their unique needs and challenges. Moreover, when dealing with such special populations, we always ensure safety standards.
PrEP Initiation and Prescription
Initiating PrEP is an important step in protecting you from HIV. At Equality Health Group, the PrEP initiation starts with a one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced healthcare professionals. During your consultation, our healthcare provider will make inquiries about sexual activity, drug usage, and other potential HIV risk factors. Remember, everything you share will be confidential, so you can freely share your information.
Then, through a medical evaluation and a series of tests, they will check whether you qualify for PrEP. This evaluation includes tests for HIV, STI, Hepatitis B, kidney function, and pregnancy. We won’t proceed until we’re sure that PrEP is right for you.
Once we confirm you’re eligible, our healthcare providers will explain the different PrEP medications available and which suits you the best. They will also inform you about the potential side effects like nausea, headaches and how you can manage them if they occur. Whatever your journey looks like during the treatment, you will have our ongoing support.
PrEP Monitoring and Follow-up
Once you start PrEP, it is important to monitor and follow up on your progress regularly. At Equality Health Group in Norman, we provide regular monitoring of PrEP medication for our patients. The follow-up includes performing a series of tests, including HIV testing, STI screening, and kidney function tests. However, the frequency of follow-ups depends on your unique case.
Here’s our follow-up procedure–
Every 3 months
- Repeat HIV testing and check for symptoms
- Repeat pregnancy testing for women who can become pregnant
- Prescribe or authorize the refill of daily PrEP for no more than 90 days
- Assess side effects, medication adherence, and if you need repeat STI screening
Every 6 months
- Monitor kidney function
- Re-evaluate for risk factors for renal impairment (e.g., hypertension, diabetes)
Every 12 months
- Test for hepatitis C
- Test for hepatitis B serology if the patient has not been vaccinated
Regular follow-up consultations are crucial to monitor and evaluate your medication adherence. You will also get an opportunity to inquire about your treatment progress and any other confusion you may have. Additionally, it’s a great way for you to seek support and guidance from our healthcare team during your treatment.
Contact EHG For PrEP For HIV Prevention In Norman, OK
At Equality Health Group, we design our PrEP services with your health and well-being in mind. That’s why we are your ultimate choice for PrEP. Along with PrEP for HIV prevention, our services in Norman, OK also include testing and treatment for HIV, Hepatitis C, and STDs. So, take the next step to safeguard yourself against HIV and schedule an appointment with us today! Simply call us at 405-761-2762 to get started by contacting us! You can also get Hep C testing, Hepatitis C treatments, and common STD treatments with us.
Frequently Asked PrEP Questions (FAQs)
PrEP medication is made up of two drugs – Tenofovir and Emtricitabine (or cabotegravir for the injectable form) – that block the enzyme that HIV needs to replicate. If you take PrEP consistently, it significantly lowers the risk of HIV transmission.
At Equality Health Group, we have partnered with various insurance companies in Norman, OK to help cover these services for our patients. We also have a program for uninsured individuals. Whatever your situation, we will ensure that you receive the required treatment. There are other ways, like copays and the “Ready, Set, PrEP” program, that can provide free PrEP treatment if you qualify.
If you take PrEP medications consistently as prescribed, it will reduce the risk of HIV by sex by about 99%. Similarly, if you inject drugs, PrEP pills reduce the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when you take them as prescribed. The key to PrEP effectiveness is adherence and consistency. If you miss the medication doses, the effectiveness may vary. Regular monitoring and follow-ups are crucial for PrEP to work properly. While PrEP helps in HIV prevention, you must always practice protected sex and test regularly.
Here are the side effects of PrEP–
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
Equality Health Group in Norman is able to prescribe PrEP to patients who qualify. Our dedicated healthcare providers are here to give you personalized care. We only proceed after making sure that PrEP is right for you through various assessments. Moreover, during treatment, we are always here to offer ongoing support. With regular monitoring and follow-ups, we ensure to maintain your progress. Whether you’re seeking education, support, or treatment, we are your #1 choice for PrEP.