Wednesday, November 24, 2021

PrEP Action Kit Gives Health Centers New Tool for Combatting HIV Infections

Fenway Health, a nationally known LGBTQIA+ focused community health center, has long made it their mission to serve the underserved. With roots in the AIDS crisis of the early 1980s that largely impacted gay men and trans women, Fenway Health remains a leader in HIV education and resources. The advent of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been a game-changer in the fight to prevent new HIV cases, 70% of which occur among men who have sex with men (MSM). Recently, Fenway Health’s National LGBT Health Education Center published the PrEP Action Kit, which provides a roadmap for health care organizations to implement and/or advance an existing PrEP prescription program.

“Advancements in PrEP have been life-changing for the sexual and gender minority communities, especially within communities of color who are disproportionally impacted by HIV,” said Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, Director of Education and Training Programs at The Fenway Institute. “One in two Black MSM and one in four Latinx MSM will contract HIV in their lifetime. Black transgender women have an especially high risk. The PrEP Action Kit will add real value to health care centers serving Black and Latinx communities at increased risk for HIV.”

Currently, two medications are available for PrEP: Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/em¬tricitabine (TDF/FTC) and tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine (TAF/FTC), and both have shown to be well-tolerated by patients. Studies show that daily PrEP use can lower the risk of HIV transmission by more than 90% with strict adherence to the PrEP regimen. The CDC estimates that over one million people could benefit from taking PrEP. While CDC specifies three groups who may benefit from PrEP use—MSM, heterosexually active people who engage in condomless sex, and people who inject drugs—usage has also been found to be effective among transgender women, cisgender women, and adolescents who are at risk for HIV.

The PrEP Action Kit lays out the case for PrEP use to prevent new HIV infections and provides other health care organizations with a ready-made plan to navigate the complexities of PrEP for HIV prevention. The comprehensive Kit includes information on establishing and managing an organization’s PrEP prescription program, provides the steps needed for implementation of the program, discusses patient engagement, and provides answers to common clinical questions.

The creation of the PrEP Action Kit is just one of the many ways Fenway Health and the National LGBT Health Education Center work to transform the health care landscape and educate health care providers. For nearly 50 years, Fenway Health has been a driving force in elevating the issues that directly impact the LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized communities. The PrEP Action Kit will help health care centers around the country learn more about the benefits of PrEP use and contribute to the fight to end new HIV infections.