Study: Descovy as good as Truvada for PrEP

SEATTLE — A new study has found that Descovy has similar protection to HIV as Truvada. The study results were announced at the  Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle this week, aidsmap reported. Dr. Brad Hare of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center made the announcement. Descovy has better bone and kidney safety outcomes. From aidsmap:
The only licensed medication for oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a combination of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) and emtricitabine, marketed by Gilead Sciences as Truvada, but also available in many countries as a generic product.

Truvada pills

PrEP use rises with gay, bisexual men

NEW YORK — NBC OUT reported on Thursday that 35% of gay and bisexual men are using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had reported only six percent were on PrEP in 2014, according to the news site. However, even with the increase, PrEP use is still low among gay and bi men of color. From NBC OUT:

The study was presented Thursday in Seattle at the 2019 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, a major annual HIV/AIDS conference, and was based on more than 8,000 interviews in 20 American cities. The data showed varying use among racial and ethnic groups.

Hello, Us Too! improving PrEP uptake amongst cisgender women

CHICAGO — The AIDS Foundation of Chicago is hosting a discussion with Project RSP on cisgender women and PrEP.

From the Facebook event:
Cisgender women in our communities who are vulnerable to HIV are, in many cases, not being offered PrEP by their health care providers. Because awareness of PrEP and their own vulnerability to HIV is low and exacerbated by stigma and misinformation, cis women are not asking for PrEP either. If we are going to “get to zero” – we MUST do better for women. Join global PrEP powerhouse Shannon Weber, MSW of the University of California San Francisco (HIVE, PleasePrEPMe), Brenda Wolfe, R.N. M.S.N. A.P.N. A.C.R.N.) of Planned Parenthood Illinois and other local experts – like YOU – for an interactive conversation focused on sharing information, best practices and creative strategies to support improved PrEP awareness and uptake among cisgender women and those who serve them. #catchdesire #prep4women

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Time: 2p networking/food, 2:30p – 5p program
Location: University Center, 525 South State Street, 2nd floor Conference Center

Just the facts* ma’am

• Across the United States in 2017, over 100,000 people were taking PrEP.
• In 2017, U.S. women comprised 6% of PrEP users, with 16 times more cis men taking PrEP compared to cis women.

Truvada pills

Mutual of Omaha will now cover PrEP after lawsuit

BOSTON — The Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company will now cover pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prescriptions for their clients. The announcement came from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defender (GLAD). From GLAD:
The parties have reached a settlement in the lawsuit Doe v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company (United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts) that challenged Mutual’s policy of declining applicants who take the medication Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (known as “PrEP) from long-term care insurance. Mutual of Omaha has revised its underwriting guidelines and no longer declines long term care insurance applicants solely on the basis that an applicant takes Truvada as PrEP for HIV prevention. Mutual will issue a long-term care insurance policy to the plaintiff, who proceeded under the pseudonym John Doe.

Truvada pills

Air Force approves use of PrEP

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has approved the use of PrEP for pilots and aircrew, overriding an older policy that prohibited its use, Military.com reported last week. From Military.com:
The service in September officially approved the use of the pre-exposure prophylaxis treatment (PrEP) medication, commonly known as Truvada, which helps reduce the risk of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus, the Air Force Surgeon General’s office recently told Military.com. Last year, Military.com profiled pilots whose careers were negatively affected because PrEP had not been authorized for them. But there’s a catch: Pilots and aircrew who wish to use PrEP must apply for a waiver, said Air Force Surgeon General spokeswoman Angelica Lopez. “As of September 2018, airmen in a flying status were able to request a waiver to use Truvada,” Lopez said in an email statement.

Spreading the word about PrEP in the Prairie State

By Matt Simonette

SPRINGFIELD — Jeffery Erdman and Michael Maginn, both officials with the Illinois Public Health Association (IPHA), are working hard to make sure that providers, advocates and community members across the entirety of Illinois know about PrEP resources. Erdman, IPHA’s assistant director for programs and compliance, said that the PrEP intervention had been on the agency’s radar for about five years. “We have been working with all of our providers, building PrEP clinics at their sites or, if they can’t build them, hopefully they can make referrals to providers in their communities who are prescribing PrEP.” He added, “We’ve done a ton of work—we’ve been to Rockford [for example], all the way down to Murphysboro, in Jackson County in southern Illinois.”

County health departments and community-based organizations in varied locales have been receptive to the message. There are now dedicated clinics, or at least accessible resources, in Lake, DuPage and Jackson Counties, among others, and a clinic is planned for a November opening in Sangamon County, where Springfield is located. Maginn, who is IPHA’s HIV program manager/prevention lead agent, said, “The problem is, outside of the Chicago area, we’re dealing with rural areas, [where it is] more difficult to find providers who are willing to write prescriptions for PrEP, and it’s hard to get the patient to the facility in order to fulfill the obligations of the medication, such as quarterly testing.”

Physicians who aren’t infectious disease specialists often don’t feel qualified to write prescriptions for Truvada—the oral medication primarily used as a PrEP intervention—and may wish to refer their patients to such a specialist, according to Maginn.

Howard Brown debuts PrEP music video ‘Let’s Talk About PrEP’

CHICAGO — Howard Brown Health, a major LGBTQ health provider in Chicago, debuted a new music video today to help get conversations on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The video stars Chicago-based rapper KC Ortiz and features former and current Chicago-based performers like Big Dipper, Lucy Stoole, DJs [X]P and All the Way Kay, comic Tien Tran, and more. The song is based on the 1990s Salt-N-Pepa hit “Let’s Talk About Sex.” It was produced by Imagination + Muscle Productions and directed by Tobin Del Cuore and filmed at a variety of Chicago locations, including Howard Brown’s Andersonville Brown Elephant resale shop. The project was funded by a grant from the Illinois Community Health Foundation. For more information on PrEP, go to Howard Brown’s website.