As of September 1, 2019, people in Germany from the age of 16 with a substantial HIV risk can get PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) for free, covered by the statutory health insurance. This is an exciting development in a country, where only two years ago PrEP was still discussed quite controversially not to mention the possibility that PrEP could be covered by health insurance. It took the tireless efforts of activists, a change of legislation and the evidence that PrEP works that made the change possible.
Deutsche Aidshilfe (DAH), AIDS Action Europe’s member organisation in Germany, launched for September with the PrEP Is Here Awareness Month, a campaign to make people aware of PrEP. Under the hashtag #PrepIstDa, DAH will provide comprehensive information about PrEP and the new legal situation. The campaign aims to provide information on how to benefit from this preventation option.
"The introduction of PrEP as a public health insurance provision is a milestone for HIV prevention: this finally makes one more way of protecting yourself from HIV available to almost anyone who needs it. The challenge now is to make everyone aware of PrEP!" – says Holger Wicht, Deutsche Aidshilfe.
HIV protection works best when people are free to choose the method they like in their situation. There are currently three options available: condoms, the protective effect of HIV medication, and PrEP. Since last year, Deutsche Aidshilfe’s I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING campaign for gay and bisexual men has been informing people under the title "Safer Sex 3.0 – My choice. Your respect" about the three prevention methods: PrEP, Condom and Treatment as Prevention.
Awareness of PrEP has increased significantly in the last few years – but not enough. In the Europe-wide survey EMIS (2017), 51% of the gay and bisexual men said that they knew about PrEP. But Germany did not make the top spots when it came to awareness of PrEP compared to other European countries. According to a German survey in 2016 by dagnä, almost exclusively answered by men who had sex with men, about 85% knew about the PrEP option.
Tim Schomann, director of the I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING campaign for gay and bisexual men, explains: "Experience has shown that many men for whom PrEP is appropriate and important were not aware of it. We want everyone to have the chance to be able to protect themselves in this way!"