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PrEP Demonstration Project Launches in San Francisco

, by San Francisco AIDS Foundation

Last week San Francisco AIDS Foundation co-hosted a community forum—along with Bridge HIV (part of the city’s Department of Public Health), San Francisco City Clinic, and HIV prevention advocacy group AVAC—to discuss issues around pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), hear about upcoming PrEP and microbicide research studies at Bridge HIV, and launch the PrEP demonstration project at City Clinic.

In her article in yesterday’s Bay Area Reporter, excerpted below, Liz Highleyman draws attention to the key questions researchers hope to address through San Francisco’s PrEP demonstration project, which will enroll 300 HIV-negative men who have sex with men and transgender women. “So far everything we know [about PrEP] is from clinical studies in which people didn’t know whether they were taking PrEP or placebo,” noted City Clinic medical director Dr. Stephanie Cohen at the September 19 forum. “There’s still a lot to learn [such as] how do we get PrEP out there safely and can we provide PrEP in the busy environment of City Clinic?”

PrEP demo project opens in San Francisco

By Liz Highleyman

September 27, 2012

Bay Area Reporter

San Francisco’s HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis demonstration project is now open and health officials discussed the program at a recent community forum.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, better known as PrEP, refers to use of antiretroviral drugs prior to HIV exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold in the body. Most PrEP research has looked at a combination of oral tenofovir plus emtricitabine, the drugs in Truvada. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada for PrEP on July 16.

“PrEP isn’t for everyone, but we’re giving [people] options to keep themselves safe,” said Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of Bridge HIV (formerly the SFDPH HIV Research Section) at the September 19 forum. “We don’t know if it’s 100 percent effective, but it’s a tool that people can use if it’s right for them.”

While HIV incidence rates are declining in San Francisco, there are still about 400 new cases per year, indicating that the prevention tools people have been using are not fully effective, according to Buchbinder.

Controlled trials have shown that Truvada PrEP can dramatically lower the risk of HIV infection in different population groups, but effectiveness depends taking the drugs consistently….

Click here to read the full story.

For much more about PrEP, visit the fabulous PrEPfacts.org, a project of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, San Francisco Department of Public Health, Project Inform, and other local health agencies and community-based providers.

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