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AIDS Groups Press HHS on PrEP

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Seven leading AIDS organizations are coming together to urge the Obama administration to support a new HIV prevention approach that has already proven effective in clinical trials.

The practice known as pre-exposure prophylaxis–or PrEP–involves HIV-negative people taking antiretroviral drugs BEFORE exposure to the virus to help prevent infection. Three clinical trials have shown that when PrEP is used consistently, it can successfully block the virus.

But the newly-formed AIDS coalition wants the Department of Health and Human Services to go a step further and fully-fund and coordinate demonstration projects to determine PrEP’s WIDESPREAD effectiveness, meaning OUTSIDE scientific constraints. Such initiatives would help HHS study implementation methods within vulnerable communities like young black men who have sex would men. Projects would also inform potential users on how to access and use PrEP correctly.

David Evans of Project Inform tells OutQ News that AIDS advocates have already talked to different HHS entities, but not with the overarching agency. He says he hopes HHS will be “supportive” of the idea, adding that community outreach is dependent on it.

EVANS: Once we learn how to use [PrEP] and where to use it and who needs it most, then we can start designing those educational efforts to make sure people know that PrEP exists and where to get it and how to ask for it.

Evans says if HHS agrees to the coalition’s call-to-action, he hopes all parties will come together to meet about what the appropriate next steps will be.

Written by Xorje Olivares

August 17, 2011 at 7:45 AM

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