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How to take preventative measures against HIV

HIV pamphlets
HIV pamphlets(WALB)
Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 9:58 PM EST
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Anyone could have HIV and not know it. That’s because most people don’t feel sick after getting it.

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) says you should make your sexual health an utmost priority, considering how high the HIV rates are.

Meghan Herendeen – HIV Prevention Manager for the District
Meghan Herendeen – HIV Prevention Manager for the District(WALB)

“The south, in general, has higher numbers than other areas of the nation, so that includes all of Georgia,” said Meghan Herendeen, the HIV Prevention Manager with the Georgia Department of Public Health.

You can get an at-home test from DPH.

“It can be mailed to your home, or you can pick it up at the health department. This is the Ora Quick Test, which uses your saliva, so you swab inside your mouth and it takes twenty minutes for you to get your results,” said Herendeen.

OraQuick- At home HIV Test
OraQuick- At home HIV Test(WALB)

There are a few ways to help prevent yourself from getting the virus. Some you may have heard of, others you may not be familiar with.

“So the biggest piece of prevention from HIV is going to be using condoms. Condoms are the best way to protect yourself not only from HIV, but other STDs and unwanted pregnancies. We do offer condoms for free at the health department and we do also have a mail-order condom program,” said Herendeen.

“As far as other options for prevention, there’s a medication called PREP which stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and it’s a medication you can take once a day to prevent the transmission of HIV,” said Herendeen.

Even if you use PREP, she says you should consider more than one form of protection.

“The benefits of PREP are that it prevents HIV infection. We still do recommend that you still use condoms with PREP, but it just gives you an extra layer of protection to prevent infection,” said Herendeen.

DPH says they want you to know about these resources available to you here.

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