For Immediate Release: September 1, 2016
Contact: Johanna Kaiser, Media Relations Manager, (617) 515-0531
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts Now Offering PrEP, Drug Regimen to Help Prevent HIV
Increasing access to PrEP is a key component of “Getting to Zero”
Boston—Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is now offering PrEP at all of its health centers across the state to help patients prevent HIV. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, more commonly known as PrEP, is a daily regimen for the medicine Truvada, which interferes with HIV’s ability to grow and establish a permanent infection in someone exposed to the virus. When taken correctly and consistently, PrEP can be more than 90 percent effective in protecting against HIV. When a person uses condoms in addition to PrEP, they have even greater protection against HIV and protection against other sexual transmitted infections
“PPLM is always striving to provide people with the resources they need to take control of their health, and PrEP is a great way for our patients to prevent HIV and stay healthy,” Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, CEO of PPLM, said. “People have long relied on PPLM for nonjudgmental, compassionate care, and offering PrEP is the next chapter in that work. Adding PrEP to our broad scope of services will allow us to meet a wider range of sexual and reproductive health care needs and allows us to do even more in the fight against HIV.”
HIV/AIDS education and prevention are core parts PPLM’s work. PPLM already provides rapid HIV testing, and offers education on HIV and STD prevention, communication and healthy relationships, and a range of other sexual health topics.
"Three decades into this epidemic, we now have the tools to eliminate HIV transmission in Massachusetts. Screening, treatment, and prevention, including PrEP, are all tools in the toolkit to get to zero new infections. I applaud Planned Parenthood for increasing access to PrEP through its providers, and being a partner in our work to help Massachusetts achieve our common goal of ending the spread of HIV," said Carl Sciortino, Executive Director of AIDS Action Committee and co-chair of the Getting to Zero Coalition, a statewide coalition dedicated to the goals of getting to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS deaths, and zero HIV-related stigma.
New HIV infections decreased by 41 percent in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2014, but reported diagnoses have plateaued in recent years, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and vulnerable populations, notably gay and bisexual men, intravenous drug users, and Black and Latino individuals, are disproportionately impacted by new HIV infections.
“Our doors are open to everyone and we work hard to advocate for patients and reduce the financial, geographical and social barriers that stand between people and health care. Creating better access to PrEP is integral to the health and wellbeing of our communities and a step toward destigmatizing HIV-related health care,” Childs-Roshak said. “We hope the more people who know about PrEP—and how accessible it is—the more people will be empowered to seek it out.”
PrEP is covered by most insurance plans, including MassHealth. PPLM will offer PrEP office visits on a sliding scale to patients who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover the visits. PPLM will also assist patients without prescription coverage in applying to the drug manufacturer’s financial assistance program. PPLM is in the process of contacting approximately 800 addiction providers, homeless shelters, sex shops, organizations serving sex trafficking victims, LGBTQ organizations, and churches informing them of PPLM’s new service.
PPLM health centers will offer PrEP to any eligible patient who has a substantial risk for acquiring HIV. This may include partners of HIV-positive individuals, gay and bisexual men, transgender women engaging in high risk sexual behaviors, people who inject drugs, sex workers and their partners, and/or individuals who frequently have condomless sex with individuals at high risk of having HIV. Patients will visit PPLM every three months for monitoring, counseling and testing.
Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) is the largest freestanding reproductive health care provider and advocate in the Commonwealth, providing sexual and reproductive health care to more than 30,000 patients per year. PPLM provides a wide range of preventive health care services including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment as well as abortion services. We ensure that women have accurate information about all of their options. For 88 years, PPLM has protected and promoted sexual and reproductive health and rights through clinical services, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.pplm.org.
September 01, 2016