Billboards were put up by the state,a part of the Health Department’s new program called “PrEP Me” and its all about raising awareness for HIV and prevention.
Chip Eakins the Advocacy Coordinator for the Philadelphia Center says,”we’re ranking number two, number three in the nation. I believe at this point we are like number three perhaps.”
Louisiana is has some of the highest numbers for HIV in the country.
“We have currently in the state of Louisiana approximately 21,000 HIV positive people.”
Louisiana is trying to put a dent in those numbers by joining states on the west and east coast, letting people know about … PrEP.
PrEP stands for, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, It’s a blue pill taken daily like birth control, to protect our bodies from the hiv virus.
“It is up to 99 percent effective in preventing HIV from taking hold in the body.”
The pill is made up of two HIV medications, and is as safe to take as baby aspirin.
“This is a very valuable tool in fighting HIV, because this puts control in that person’s hands.”
Michael Freeman has been on PrEP for a year and half.
Michael says,”it makes sexual decisions a lot more easier, it takes the anxiety away, and it has actually increased my condom use.”
He says the statistics in Louisiana are why he started taking taking it.
“With the HIV rates, I wanted to protect myself and keep myself negative,” Freeman said.
He says protecting himself has become a lot easier with prep.
“All you can do is control yourself, and that’s what i’m doing by taking my prep.”
The Philadelphia Center has a prep clinic you can visit Monday-Thursday, where you can get tested before getting on PrEP.