The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) launched a new public health education campaign to increase medical provider awareness and prescribing of safe and highly effective methods to prevent HIV, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Public Health will make scheduled visits to more than 400 clinics throughout the County using the PrEP and PEP Action Kit for Health Care Providers.
A major barrier to increasing PrEP use is lack of medical provider awareness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 3 medical doctors and nurses have never heard of PrEP. Using data from its Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) surveillance database, Public Health identified over 400 medical clinics throughout Los Angeles County that diagnosed patients with syphilis and rectal gonorrhea in the last year, who would be ideal candidates for PrEP. Public Health representatives will visit these clinics to conduct educational sessions to medical providers with the goal of enhancing the quality of sexual health care services they provide to their patients. These efforts will also reinforce the importance of following existing guidelines related to frequent STD screening among persons on PrEP.
“Despite significant progress in reducing HIV infections in LA County, HIV transmission stubbornly persists,” said Mario J. Pérez, MPH, Director for Public Health’s Division of HIV and STD Programs. “There continues to be a disproportionate impact among African-American and Latino gay men and transgender women. Along with Treatment as Prevention, or TasP, PrEP is one of the best HIV prevention tools to address the impact on those populations.”
With yesterday’s observance of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, it is important to note African-Americans, particularly men who have sex with other men and heterosexual women, have the highest rates of HIV and STDs in Los Angeles County, yet they are the least likely to be on PrEP.
PrEP is a once-daily medication (Truvada®) taken by persons who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection. When taken daily, this HIV prevention method is up to 99% effective. Despite its effectiveness, PrEP remains underutilized among high-risk individuals in Los Angeles County, in California, and across the country.
For more information about PrEP, please visit:
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the Department of Public Health and the work we do, please visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov.