The Body: Black women should get to decide whether PrEP is an option

UC expert says HIV stigma is a major factor in the reluctance to adopt PrEP to fight HIV/AIDS

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is the preventative medication used to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. Despite the fact that it’s been available to people for almost a decade, not everyone knows about it. Many people in the Black community, specifically Black women, either aren’t aware of PrEP or aren’t adequately educated on it. Therefore, many Black women aren’t taking advantage of its benefits as it pertains to HIV/AIDS prevention.

In an article on PrEP in The Body, Jaasiel Chapman of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine says the main reason for that is the role HIV stigma plays in the Black community.

Jaasiel Chapman of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine.

Jaasiel Chapman of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the UC College of Medicine/Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Creative + Brand

“There is still misconception that only men who have sex with men or individuals who inject drugs are the only ones at risk,” Chapman says. “Stigma blocks education, and that blocks prevention.”

Black women face greater health risks in many aspects, such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, sickle cell disease and mental health. All of which are discussed often at doctor’s visits regularly. So why aren’t Black women made privy to PrEP resources?

“There just hasn’t been a true concerted effort to reach that population, which is extremely unfortunate because Black women are more than two times more likely to contract HIV,” Chapman says.

Though the CDC and other agencies have tried to ramp up their prevention messaging to Black women, Chapman says it’s not enough.

“I have not seen it on the scale that is needed. It definitely has not happened in our region. Hopefully that changes, if we want to end the epidemic by 2030,” he says. 

Read the entire story here. 

Lead image/SDI Productions via iStock.

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