Talking About PrEP with People Living with HIV

What does PrEP have to do with me?

People living with HIV often have HIV uninfected sexual partners, or desire to have them.  PrEP is another way of keeping these partnerships safe, and addressing HIV-related anxiety.  Addressing these anxieties may also decrease HIV stigma. PrEP mitigates HIV stigma by distributing responsibility for transmission and making it easier to partner with people living with HIV.

We rely on these medications for survival, and the drug supply is already sporadic and rife with inefficient practices.  Won't PrEP make this worse?

PrEP will bring treatment and prevention advocates together to focus on medication access issues such as intellectual property, supply chain, financing, and accountability. PrEP markets will expand the volume of sales of medications, which should decrease unit costs.

Primary health care for HIV positive people is often inadequate, so won't the burden of PrEP services will further tax these resources?

PrEP users also require primary care.  Health care providers will have opportunities to learn more about primary health care services.

Sexual health services for people living with HIV are often poor quality, involving vague referrals to outside clinics and shaming about sexual activity.  Will PrEP make sexual health services better?

PrEP users are often empowered to demand higher quality sexual health services, including testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and services for their sexual partners.  As PrEP users insist on higher quality care, people living with HIV may benefit.  PrEP is a “sex positive” intervention that can reduce stigma and fear around HIV and sex.

Will stakeholders lose their focus on the needs of people living with HIV?

Growing focus on providing treatment as a way to prevent transmission, rather than to preserve health of the treated person, has sometimes distracted stakeholders from the primary goal of treatment.  PrEP provides an opportunity for treatment to be celebrated for its primary role in fostering health and preventing disease.