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State raises awareness about daily pill that prevents HIV
JAMESTOWN, NY – OCTOBER 22, 2019 – Evergreen Health will host an open house at its Prather Avenue location from noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, October 25 for individuals interested in learning more about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) – a pill that when taken daily is 99 percent effective at preventing HIV. This event is being hosted in recognition of PrEP Aware Week, an initiative hosted by New York State to increase general awareness and education about PrEP statewide.
“Having watched the devastating power of HIV in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it is amazing to realize we can now prevent transmission with just one daily dose of a well-tolerated oral medication,” said Shirley Swenson, nurse practitioner at Evergreen Health. “Fortunately, there are also treatments that effectively suppress the virus so that individuals living with HIV can lead a healthy life, but it remains a chronic condition without a cure. PrEP prevents that.”
Nationally, PrEP use has increased since it was approved by the FDA in 2012, however there is still a lack of awareness about the medication, as well as misinformation about its cost, access and side effects. Last November, Evergreen Health opened a medical office in Jamestown to increase access to PrEP, sexual health testing, Hepatitis C care, and HIV care.
“PrEP use in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties has increased dramatically in the last year and we are very excited to be providing affirmative sexual healthcare in the region,” said Matthew Crehan Higgins, AVP of enhanced medical services at Evergreen Health. “This event is an opportunity for people to meet with our staff to learn about the impact PrEP can have on their lives and to make them aware it is easier to access than they may realize.”
Event participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about PrEP and, if interested, screen for their eligibly to start treatment. The open house will take place at 320 Prather Avenue and is free and open to the public.
Individuals interested in learning more about PrEP can also visit TakePrEP.com or call the Evergreen Health PrEP Helpline at 716-541-0676.
Evergreen Health fosters healthy communities by providing medical, supportive, and behavioral services to individuals and families in Western New York – especially those who are living with chronic illness or who are underserved by the healthcare system. Additional information is available at Evergreenhs.org.