We PrEP Together Campaign Sets Out to Make New Orleans HIV Free

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The St. Thomas Community Health Center initiative aims to increase awareness and access to HIV prevention medication among those most vulnerable to contracting the virus in New Orleans

New Orleans, HIV, AIDS, PrEP, Truvada, healthcare, HIV prevention, gay, LGBT

We PrEP Together is an initiative by St. Thomas Community Health Center aimed at increasing awareness and access to PrEP among those who are most vulnerable to HIV in New Orleans.

We aren’t trying to change people’s lifestyles. We just want them to be safe and to know that they are not alone. Regardless of your sexual partner’s HIV-status or lifestyle, PrEP can give you ease of mind

The HIV and AIDS public health crisis in Louisiana and in New Orleans is no secret. We PrEP Together is on a mission to reduce the stigma of HIV-related health services by providing confidential, convenient and affordable medical care to those at risk in the region.

Despite innovations in HIV and AIDS treatment, Louisiana remains the state with the highest infection rates and New Orleans one of the highest-ranking cities for HIV and AIDS in the nation each year. The South has been called the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We PrEP Together plans to change that by working as a community to raise awareness among at risk groups that HIV is preventable by simply taking one pill every day.

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, and is a relatively new prevention method for people who are HIV-negative, but at high risk of contracting the virus. When taken daily, the medication can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent and is generally well tolerated with few side effects.

“We want to eliminate barriers for this care for everyone who can benefit from it,” said Stacy Greene, M.D., Associate Medical Director and Infectious Diseases specialist at St. Thomas Community Health Center. “What sets St.Thomas apart is that we offer many other services besides PrEP so visits to our clinics are completely confidential. We hope this will help ease some of the stigma concerning HIV testing and services.”

St. Thomas Community Health Center offers a range of high-quality affordable health care from pediatrics, to women’s health to behavioral and mental health services regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. With five locations across New Orleans offering PrEP, they are committed to helping people stay HIV-negative regardless of their socio-economic status.

“We aren’t trying to change people’s lifestyles. We just want them to be safe and to know that they are not alone,” said Donald Erwin, M.D., CEO at St. Thomas Community Health Center. “Regardless of your sexual partner’s HIV-status or lifestyle, PrEP can give you ease of mind.”

St. Thomas offers financial assistance programs for those who aren’t equipped to cover the cost including co-pay assistance and plans that even pay 100 percent. PrEP allows those who are at high risk of contracting HIV to take control of their sexual health. The medication must be taken daily, and after the initial visit those using PrEP should see their healthcare provider every 3 months for follow-up tests.

About We PrEP Together

We PrEP Together is an initiative by St. Thomas Community Health Center aimed at increasing awareness and access to PrEP among those who are most vulnerable to HIV in New Orleans. The campaign’s mission is to reduce the stigma of HIV-related health services by providing confidential and affordable medical care to those at risk. We want to eliminate barriers for this care for everyone who can benefit from this program. At St. Thomas Community Health Center, your visit is fully confidential — after all, there are many other services we offer other than PrEP. To us, your socio-economic status shouldn’t determine your chances of staying HIV-negative. Learn more about We PrEP Together at wepreptogether.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About St. Thomas Community Health Center

St. Thomas Community Health Center offers high-quality affordable care at its six New Orleans area clinics. The team of dedicated Internal Medicine Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Pediatricians, Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, OB/GYNS, Dermatologists, and others offer a range of comprehensive health services, including specialty consultations, for children, adults and seniors.

The goal of St. Thomas is to keep families healthy, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. St. Thomas Community Health Center became designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in 2009. For more information on St. Thomas Community Health Center visit stthomaschc.org.

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Maggie Robert
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