By Dr. Donna Burkett, Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE)
World AIDS Day is Thursday, December 1st and is a time to unite in the fight against HIV and support people living with HIV. HIV/AIDS continues to be an urgent human rights and public health crisis, impacting millions in the U.S. and around the world. This, despite the fact that when it comes to ending the epidemic, we know what works: access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care and rights; combating stigma, discrimination, and policy barriers that restrict the ability of all people to access lifesaving information and services; and focusing on the needs of marginalized communities, including women and girls. It’s also a time to make your health a priority by getting an HIV test.
That’s why on World AIDS Day, Planned Parenthood is doubling down on our commitment to remain at the frontlines of fighting HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and globally. I’m pleased to share that your local Planned Parenthood is making HIV testing even simpler: We’re now offering “Insti,” the fastest HIV test on the market that produces results in one-minute. Not only is the test quicker, it’s more accurate than previous tests with a 99.9% accuracy score. PPNNE is the only health care provider in Vermont or New Hampshire currently offering this test.
When it comes to HIV, we know that gay, bisexual and men who have sex with other men are disproportionately affected. They only account for about 2% of the population, but are 55% of people living with HIV in the U.S. People who inject drugs and/or share needles are also at a greater risk of contracting HIV. With these factors in mind, last year PPNNE began offering PrEP -- Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, a daily medicine that greatly reduces the chances of contracting HIV for high-risk populations. According to the CDC, “Daily PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90%. Among people who inject drugs, it reduces the risk by more than 70%.” Every month, PPNNE counsels numerous at-risk patients about PrEP and nPEP, which treats patients with a very recent exposure.
Planned Parenthood is always thinking about ways to make your sexual and reproductive health care experience simpler. Whether that’s offering the newest birth control methods, the fastest HIV test on the market, or the most effective medicine to fight HIV, we are on the cutting edge of providing high-quality, supportive care. So don’t wait, make an appointment at PPNNE to get tested. Book online at www.ppnne.org or call 1-866-476-1321.