East-West University students got a visit from Chicago House’s Health Outreach Prevention And Education (H.O.P.E). H.O.P.E is a Chicago House provided evidence-based, sex-positive, community- and client-centered
prevention. H.O.P.E provides testing, linkage-to-care, and PrEP awareness & navigation services. Presenters Julian Alvarado and Pamela Tassin spoke of the services meant to encourage practices to reduce HIV risk and sexual harm by affirming sexual desire and promoting care for the whole person. From providing risk reduction techniques to fostering relationships with medical providers, the staff is knowledgeable about the numerous ways to stay healthy and can help identify the plan that works best for you.
Julian opened the topic of PrEP to the students of East-West University. PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is a daily medicine that can reduce your chance of getting HIV. Julian further explains that PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your whole body. “Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.”
Julian presented his closing statements about a new campaign U=U. “U=U is a community of people living with HIV who collaborated with the leading researchers on HIV sexual transmission to answer a fundamental question about living with HIV
and having an undetectable viral load (When copies of HIV cannot be detected by standard viral load tests): ‘Will I pass on HIV to my sexual partner?’
The science is clear. People living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications properly as prescribed, they will not pass on HIV to sexual partners (Undetectable = Untransmittable U=U). U=U offers freedom and hope. For many people living with HIV and their partners, U=U opens up social, sexual, and reproductive choices they never thought would be possible.” https://www.preventionaccess.org/undetectable; 2018.
Julian and Pamela end by encouraging students to talk to their partners and if they believe they are at risk for HIV that they come in with their partners for testing and to learn more about prevention. For anyone looking for more information about Chicago House, H.O.P.E, PrEP, or U=U, click on the links below.
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