Before COVID-19, New York was close to becoming the first state in the nation to end the HIV epidemic. Despite the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our health care system, we must not lose ground in the treatment and prevention of HIV. Amida Care recently released the policy brief “A Pandemic and an Epidemic: COVID-19 and Ending HIV in New York,” which offers solutions for public health agencies, health plans and providers, and individuals on how to increase PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) uptake and break down barriers to access for HIV prevention and treatment.
PrEP is one of the most effective tools we have in HIV prevention, proven to be 99% effective at reducing the risk of getting HIV from sex when taken daily. Unfortunately, many people are still unaware of PrEP, mistakenly think it is unaffordable, don’t know where to access it, fear stigma around PrEP, or have inaccurate information about side effects. You can ask your health care provider if PrEP is right for you, and reach out to anyone you think could benefit from knowing about PrEP to encourage them to speak to their provider about it. It’s important to get tested for HIV and know your status. If you test positive, the sooner you know it, the sooner you can get into treatment. Rapid Start, which lets you begin HIV treatment as soon as you test positive, has been shown to suppress the virus quickly. It has been proven that that people living with HIV who get and stay virally suppressed–bringing HIV to an “undetectable” level by taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed—cannot sexually transmit the virus to others (Undetectable equals Untransmittable or U=U).
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we can learn from this crisis and refocus efforts to achieve our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in New York and across the U.S. Working together, government agencies, health plans, providers and individuals can help us to achieve an HIV-free future.
Amida Care is a Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan that currently serves 8,000+ members throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including people affected by HIV. Read our policy brief and learn more about HIV treatment and prevention resources at www.amidacareny.org.
Amida Care complies with Federal civil rights laws. Amida Care does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-800-556-0689 TTY: 711. ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-800-556-0689 TTY: 711. 注意：如果您使用繁體中文，您可以免費獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-800-556-0689 TTY: 711.