The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health continues to protect health with comprehensive and aggressive HIV prevention and response. On Tuesday, June 9, the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors passed a motion introduced by Supervisor Sheila Kuehl signaling the Board’s support for ensuring increased access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) services for County residents.
PrEP is a once daily medication (Truvada) to prevent the transmission of HIV in uninfected persons. When taken daily this HIV prevention method is up to 96% effective.
“Public Health fully supports and endorses PrEP as a critical component of Los Angeles County’s overall HIV prevention strategy,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “We look forward to reporting back to the Board on our strategies for increasing consumer and service provider knowledge of PrEP and increasing access to PrEP throughout the County.”
The motion calls for Public Health to finalize and start implementing a comprehensive plan to roll out PrEP; instructing it to report back in 30 days with the details of that finalized plan. It also instructs Public Health to issue a competitive solicitation so that private-sector partners can be utilized to provide PrEP to the uninsured in LA County.
“Coupled with other elements of our comprehensive HIV response that includes aggressive HIV diagnosis, linkage to care and treatment services, expanded access and use of condoms, and STD screening and treatment efforts, PrEP is a revolutionary tool that can help accelerate the reduction of new HIV infections in our County. PrEP will be particularly helpful with our prevention efforts targeted to gay men, African-Americans, Latinos and transgender persons – groups that continue to be disproportionately impacted by this scourge,” said Mario J. Pérez, MPH, Director of Public Health’s Division of HIV and STD Programs (DHSP).
DHSP recently developed the LA County PrEP Provider Directory that has been disseminated widely to community stakeholders and partners and is maintained on DHSP’s website. The directory, which includes providers in LA County who have experience prescribing PrEP, offers consumers access options as well as information about financial assistance to make PrEP more affordable.
DHSP has also debuted its new PrEP website: www.GetPrEPLA.com. This website, along with social marketing materials, is intended for consumers to increase their knowledge regarding PrEP and provide information on how to access it. In addition, the website includes information for medical providers on PrEP treatment guidelines and other types of clinical support.
DHSP worked with LA Pride organizers and community partners, including the LA County PrEP and PEP Workgroup, to integrate social marketing materials into the LA Pride event, which will feature PrEP as a main theme.
For more information about DHSP, go to www.publichealth.lacounty.gov/dhsp.
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of 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 Public Health and the work we do, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter: @LAPublicHealth.