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Planned Parenthood Launches Initiative to Expand Comprehensive HIV Prevention

Monday Sep 11, 2017
Planned Parenthood Launches Initiative to Expand Comprehensive HIV Prevention

Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced it will participate in a grant-funded, multi-phase pilot program to build and expand comprehensive HIV prevention and education efforts at 11 Planned Parenthood affiliates across the country over the next 18 months.

This effort comes from a block grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc., a research-based biopharmaceutical company, to support and expand HIV prevention and education efforts, including the integration of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) awareness. PrEP is a medical tool to help people who are at high risk for HIV reduce the risk of transmission by taking a daily pill.

This is the first significant corporate grant of its kind awarded to Planned Parenthood, and it will focus critical prevention efforts in communities hardest hit by the epidemic.

Despite the life-saving advances in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for treatment and prevention, HIV remains an urgent public health crisis, especially for certain communities facing structural biases and inequities in access to affordable, quality health care. For example, according to a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveillance report, Black people account for four in 10 Americans living with HIV and nearly half of all new HIV infections. In the South, more people are living with HIV and dying of AIDS-related complications than any other region of the country.

"We are thrilled to launch this incredibly important project," said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Although this country has made progress toward greater health care equity, HIV remains a serious health concern for too many people and too many communities.

Rates of new HIV diagnoses, along with barriers to treatment and health care access, continue to greatly affect already-marginalized communities. At Planned Parenthood we are committed to providing all people, especially those already facing obstacles to accessing quality health care, with comprehensive and cutting-edge HIV prevention resources."

The Gilead grant will directly support Planned Parenthood efforts to develop trainings and resources as part of a comprehensive program of HIV prevention, including PrEP and other methods, in all of its health centers. It will also go toward creating materials to help reach at-risk populations and provide patients with the latest information and resources they need to help prevent HIV, including PrEP, which can reduce HIV transmission rates.

This work will be done in partnership with The Black AIDS Institute, a national organization working to stop the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities by engaging and mobilizing Black institutions and individuals.

"Scientific innovation has greatly improved our ability to address the HIV epidemic," said Gregg Alton, executive vice president of Corporate and Medical Affairs for Gilead Sciences, Inc. "Alongside that innovation, diverse programs and partnerships are helping to ensure we can reach those most in need of treatment and prevention options. Prevention strategies, including PrEP and other methods, can have a meaningful impact on public health, offering an unparalleled opportunity to avert new infections and reduce long-term costs to the healthcare system."

Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate care at our health centers, including more than 650,000 HIV tests each year. Planned Parenthood health centers are uniquely positioned to deliver HIV prevention services and education to disproportionately affected communities, including Black women, Latinas, transgender people, young people of all backgrounds, and men who have sex with men, especially men of color.

"Training more medical providers to provide HIV and PrEP education, with a particular focus on prevention in underserved communities, is a job for which Planned Parenthood is uniquely suited," added Courtney Benedict, associate director of medical standards implementation for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "For 100 years, we've worked tirelessly to ensure that all people -- no matter where they live -- can access accurate, nonjudgmental health care and education so they can keep themselves and their families healthy."

While awareness of the importance of antiretroviral medication has increased among men who have sex with men (MSM), MSM of color and women at risk for HIV still face several challenges in getting the services and information they need. Structural and cultural barriers such as poverty, HIV stigma, and a relative lack of access to healthcare professionals trained to offer comprehensive HIV prevention all contribute to an increased risk of HIV.

As part of our mission to help people live healthy lives, Planned Parenthood works every day in communities across the country and with partners around the world so that everyone -- no matter who they are or where they live -- can access accurate, high-quality, and compassionate sexual and reproductive health care.

Planned Parenthood is the nation's leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation's largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood affiliates serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment.

Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

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