There’s nothing more vital to quality of life than wellness. And the affordable, high quality health care that Family Planning provides thousands of women and men each year certainly fits that bill.

As part of the nonprofit agency’s ongoing effort, Family Planning now offers pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, at all five of it’s local health centers.

PrEP is for people who do not have HIV but remain at risk for getting the infection from sex or injectable drug use, such as an HIV negative person with an HIV positive partner.

The medication can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout the body.

“The method, which is a daily oral medication, is highly effective for preventing HIV — if used as prescribed, and taken consistently,” Melissa Brennan, Family Planning’s director of health center operations,

Daily PrEP use reduces the risk of contracting HIV from sex by more than 90 percent. And, among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70 percent.

“Your risk of getting HIV from sex can be even lower if you combine PrEP with condoms and other prevention methods,” Brennan noted.

Family Planning is also one of the few healthcare providers in south central New York that offer the new, state-of-the-art 4th generation rapid HIV test.

It’s quick and simple. Patients just take a fingerstick blood test — followed, as always, by non-judgmental, compassionate counseling — and they will know their HIV status in only 20 minutes.

“This 4th generation test, which is now available at all five of our local health centers, has the ability to identify HIV earlier than previous generation antibody-only tests,” Brennan explained. “In fact, this new test can pick up an HIV infection 17 days after it has occurred, almost 4 weeks earlier than the older test.”

Implementation of the new test means Family Planning’s medical staff can now diagnose HIV earlier. And the earlier the diagnosis, the sooner patients get the care they need to treat HIV, lowering the chance of further spreading the infection.

“Improving the health outcomes and wellness of our patients is our mission here, every day,” Brennan said. “It’s about quality, compassionate care — for every body.”