JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - You read the headline correctly. The Jackson County Health Department recently received a grant to begin offering a daily pill that reduces the chance of HIV transmission.
"We are working hard to get to zero", says Paula Clark, Director of HIV Services. "Zero", means reaching the point of no new HIV infections.
Pre-Exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a medication that is offered to people who do not have HIV but are at substantial risk of contracting it. By taking the pill every day, the medication has been shown to prevent HIV infection to someone who is exposed to it through unprotected sex or injection drug use, according to the health department.
"If you are HIV+ we have programs to help you… and now if you are HIV- we have ways to help you reduce your risk of infection," said Clark.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that PrEP be offered to the following groups:
- HIV negative persons who may have an HIV positive sexual or drug-using partner
- HIV negative women who have an HIV positive partner and want to have a healthy pregnancy
- Men who have sex with men (MSM) who engage in unprotected sex
- Anyone with syphilis or rectal STDs (for example, rectal gonorrhea or chlamydia)
- Injection drug users
For more information about the program through the Jackson County Health Department, you can call 618-684-3143 ext. 155.