What Does PrEP Mean for You?

September is Sexual Health Awareness Month. Sexual health is important part of your overall physical health and well-being.

PrEP is a once a day pill that can be taken to reduce risk of contracting HIV. (You can learn more about PrEP here and see if it might be right for you.) It reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by 99% and from injection drug use by 74%. With over 10 years of clinical evidence PrEP has been seen to be safe with minimal side effects. That being said all medications can have side effects, so be sure to talk with your provider about your medical history to collaboratively make the most informed decision for you.

As a PrEP Coordinator, working at Howard Brown Health means that I’m able to increase access to healthcare for those who are a part of my community and all marginalized communities in the City of Chicago. Too often, it is hard to find gender affirming and/or culturally competent healthcare and that needs to change. Healthcare is a human right and all should have access to it regardless of their identity or ability to pay. Working in sexual health is a joy every day. I think that’s because so many people experience sex and sexuality in such different ways and that individuality translates into the care we provide.

Howard Brown’s impact on the community brings me joy as well – from the groundbreaking work being done by my colleagues at the Broadway Youth Center, to the everyday excellent service provided at Howard Brown Health 63rd St., to the partnerships we’ve fostered at Project Vida, or to the COVID-19 response we’ve implemented throughout the organization. It brings me joy and pride to work for an organization that is invested in the community and centers excellence.

PrEP Coordinators like me are here to help you navigate systems and questions around what’s right for your sexual health. PrEP can be used by any person, regardless of gender, who is currently HIV negative and wants to reduce their risk of contracting HIV. One type of PrEP called Descovy is currently only approved for those who engage in receptive anal sex and there is no safety data on those who engage in receptive vaginal sex. It’s important to know that PrEP does not interfere with gender affirming hormones or hormonal birth control, including emergency contraception.

Call 773.388.1600 to make an appointment or email prep@howardbrown.org for more information.

If you would like to get started on PrEP, you can walk in to Howard Brown Health Sheridan or Howard Brown Health 63rd St. and start PrEP the same day. You can also call our main line and schedule a telehealth appointment to start PrEP that way as well.

PrEP services at Howard Brown Health include conversations on HIV transmission, risk reduction practices, education on medication options, and financial assistance to ensure that everyone is able to access PrEP, regardless of their ability to pay.

Let’s talk and see if PrEP is right for you! Call 773.388.1600 to make an appointment, or email prep@howardbrown.org for more information.


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