Kean University's Student Health Services works to make sure students are living healthy life styles and making smart choices when it comes to their sexual health. A new initiative Kean is putting into action is the offering of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Through a collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health PrEP counselor program and Trinitas Early Intervention Program, Kean is looking to offer ways for students to start the process of obtaining this medication.
PrEP is a pill that will protect the user when they are put in an HIV risk situation. This medication only works for people who are HIV negative and greatly lowers their risk of getting the disease. When used correctly, PrEP has a 90% success rate of preventing HIV from sex.
This initiative for PrEP is to combat the large amount of young adults ages 15 to 24 who are being diagnosed with STDs. All people are at risk for HIV when put in certain situations regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or age.
"PrEP is ideal for students who, for any reason, are putting themselves in high HIV risk situations to feel protected. It is a once a day pill that has minimal to no side effects," said Robin Mansfield, director of Student Health Services.
PrEP being offered is significant in that it can be a costly medication with lab tests involved. These lab tests include checks for hepatitis B, amino functions and HIV. To continue using PrEP, lab tests should be repeated every three months to maintain the prescription. In response to the prices of these tests, Kean Health Services is partnering with Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth, New Jersey with which Kean already has an HIV testing program collaboration. Through Trinitas, students can consult with PrEP counselors.
The testing and prescribing is guaranteed confidential between the medical professionals and the students, If a student is using a family insurance plan, the providers will discuss the limitations of confidentiality. Kean's purpose in offering PrEP to students as an option goes along with their overall dedication to maintaining sexual health in the Kean community.
For students interested in finding out more about PrEP, they can visit Health Services in Downs Hall, Room 126 or visit one of the Get Yourself Tested events. This semester there are Get Yourself Tested events slated for Feb. 13, March 19 and April 24. At the Get Yourself Tested events, students can get tested for a multitude of different STDs and STIs and speak to PrEP counselors.
Get Yourself Tested (GYT) gives students free HIV testing and offers discounted prices for examinations for other diseases and infections. Students can get screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia for $9.50 a test and they can get tested for syphilis for $6.
For more information on PrEP, sex health and education or other health concerns, contact Student Health Services at (908) 737-4880, or visit them in Downs Hall, Room 126. Student Health Services is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.