Why Aren't More Women Taking PrEP?
Who is a Good Candidate for PrEP?
- Are currently HIV-negative
- Are in a relationship with an HIV-positive person
- Commonly engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Inject drugs that have not been prescribed by a doctor
- Are gay or bisexual and have been diagnosed with an STI within the past six months
Why Aren’t More Women Taking PrEP?
Most of the advertising surrounding PrEP has long been directed at gay and bisexual men, and for good reason. Most new HIV infections occur in men who have sex with other men. But many are saying that now is the time to include straight women in the PrEP conversation.
Simply put, women aren’t taking PrEP because they don’t know it exists.
In six focus groups conducted by Judy Auerbach, vice president of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Auerbach and her colleagues learned that despite the fact that more than half (58 percent) of women interviewed had been tested for HIV at some point in their life, almost none of them had ever heard of PrEP.
After learning what PrEP was, many women in the focus group said that they would be open to taking it in the future and wished they knew it was an option when they were younger.
Getting Women Started On PrEP
If you want to start taking PrEP, or simply want to learn more about it, start by doing the following:
- Have a conversation with your doctor or gynecologist. If your doctor doesn’t know what it is or is uncomfortable prescribing it, consider getting a second opinion.
- When your doctor does discuss PrEP, take his/her words seriously. Like any medication, PrEP may come with side effects.
- Find out if PrEP is covered by your insurance. Most insurers today cover PrEP. However, they all have varying co-pays.
- Be prepared to take on the responsibilities of taking PrEP. PrEP is incredibly effective at preventing HIV only if it’s taken each and every day. Most physicians will also require you to schedule regular check-ups (usually every few months) and routine HIV tests.