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Young Gay and Bi Guys: Project PrEPare Wants You!

, by Reilly O'Neal

ProjectPrEPareHIV is on the rise among young men who have sex with men (MSM); from 2008 to 2010, new infections increased by 22% among MSM ages 13 to 24, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Can PrEP—short for pre-exposure prophylaxis—help young gay and bi guys stay HIV negative?

It’s a question Project PrEPare hopes to answer. PrEP is a relatively new HIV-prevention approach in which HIV-negative people take a daily antiretroviral pill—one of the same medications used for HIV treatment—to help avoid infection. The combination drug Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) is currently approved as PrEP only for adults age 18 and older. Truvada was previously approved as HIV treatment for HIV-positive people as young as 12 years old; however, studies of Truvada PrEP have not yet included youth under age 18.

Have questions about PrEP? There’s a website just for you.

To help understand how well and how safely PrEP works for young MSM—and to find out whether young gay and bi men will even be interested in a daily prevention pill—Project PrEPare is currently recruiting 100 young MSM ages 15 to 17 for a PrEP demonstration project in cities across the U.S. In addition to free Truvada PrEP, participants will receive the standard HIV-prevention “package”: HIV testing, condoms, HIV risk-reduction counseling, and screening and treatment for any sexually transmitted infections.

Think Project PrEPare might be right for you or someone you know? Curious whether the study is enrolling at a site near you? Visit Project PrEPare online to learn more and sign up.

Want to know more about PrEP? Click here for a comprehensive library of resources and articles about PrEP—personal perspectives, the science of PrEP, ways to pay for your pills, and everything in between.

Reilly O’Neal is the editor of BETA.

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