The "I Am Life" campaign hopes to prevent the spread of HIV in Houston

FOX 26 is teaming-up with with the Houston Health Department to raise awareness about how our community can prevent HIV from spreading.

A number of Houstonians have joined forces to let you know that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has actually been on the rise in Houston, the past 10 years.

"There has been a 10% increase!  We don't like those numbers in healthcare because it means we're not getting something quite right, and we need to be more aggressive," exclaims Dr. Sheryl Malone Thomas, a nurse practitioner with the Houston Health Department.

That's where the I Am Life campaign comes in.

The Houston Health Department is doing its part to raise awareness about PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and involves a pill called Truvada. Studies show the medication is 92% effective in preventing HIV, when taken every day.

"We will evaluate the patient, as we want to make sure the patient is HIV negative. That's a stipulation - you wouldn't want to prescribe it to someone who is HIV positive," says Dr. Thomas.

The city's biggest concern is 13 to 34 year olds. The preventative medication is FDA-approved for teens.

"We're targeting African American and Hispanic males, males who have sex with males and the transgender population," explains Dr. Thomas.

Truvada is a prescription medication, so it's available through your doctor or the Health Department. Financial assistance is available to help defray the cost. Click here for more information.