New York State Department of Health Announces PrEP Aware Week to Promote Sexual Health and HIV Awareness & Prevention

This Year's Theme is: "PrEP is for Every Body"

Learn More About PrEP Aware Week Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (OCTOBER 20, 2023) –The New York State Department of Health has announced that the state's fifth annual PrEP Aware Week will take place on October 23-29, with a full week of virtual and in person events. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is medication that can prevent HIV and promote sexual health for New Yorkers who are at risk of HIV.

"PrEP is a safe, affordable, and effective medication that prevents the sexual transmission of HIV and supports overall positive sexual health," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "PrEP Aware Week empowers New Yorkers to have open conversations with their sexual partners and medical providers. I encourage everyone to learn about this safe and accessible HIV prevention method."

The 2023 PrEP Aware Week campaign will be observed with a mix of virtual and in-person events, featuring videos and social media developed by PrEP ambassadors from eight different community organizations. This year's theme is "PrEP is for Every Body," which references two social movements: sex positivity, acknowledging that consensual sexual activities are fundamentally healthy; and body positivity, celebrating all bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical ability.

PrEP ambassadors have deep connections within their local communities and will advocate for PrEP and sexual health across their personal social media platforms. Sexual health is defined as a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to sexuality. There are also campaign resources for public use, including a variety of social media messages, graphics, and videos available in the PrEP Aware Week social media toolkit.

PrEP is 99% effective at preventing sexual transmission of HIV and is safe, widely available, and affordable for people who are HIV negative and not living with HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two types of medications for PrEP for HIV, which have little to no side effects: the oral medications Truvada and Descovy and the injectable medication Apretude. The NYS Clinical Guidelines Program offers clinicians up to date practice recommendations for PrEP for HIV Prevention and Sexual Health  and individuals seeking these medications should consult with their medical provider about which one would be ideal for them, or they can find a PrEP provider here.

Medicaid and most insurance plans cover all costs for oral PrEP, which include appointment fees, lab tests and medication. Additionally, the Department offers a PrEP Assistance Program (PrEP-AP), which includes information about payment options, and drug manufacturers offer assistance as well.

The PrEP Aware Week campaign is funded through the Department's AIDS Institute, which is committed to eliminating transmission and improving the health and wellbeing of persons living with HIV, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted disease, individuals who use drugs and LGBTQ+ people.