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Florida to offer PrEP to gay and bisexual men for free

A pilot program currently only available in 16 counties will be taken statewide by the end of 2018

Florida to offer PrEP to gay and bisexual men for free
Into the blue | Photo: highonjnny Instagram

Florida state has announced they will offer PrEP for free throughout the entire state by the end of the year

The Department of Health began offering PrEP through an initiative in October 2017.

16 county health departments have already been providing PrEP services through the pilot program.

Mara Gambineri, spokesperson for the department, said this program will be extended statewide by the end of 2018.

They said: ‘Ensuring PrEP to those at highest risk for HIV infection, regardless of their ability to pay, is one of the four key components of the agency’s plan to eliminate HIV transmission and reduce HIV-related deaths.’

Florida’s rate of new infections is almost double the national rate.

The state of Florida is a southern state in the US.

The CDC reported in 2016 southern states accounted for more than 50 percent of new HIV diagnoses.

PrEP for all

Daniel Downer is the Early Interventions Services Program Coordinator for Florida-based HIV organization, Hope and Health Center. He is also a HRC HIV 360° Fellow.

Downer said: ‘Florida providing free PrEP in all 67 of its local county health departments is significant because it provides those who are most at-risk for HIV, but are uninsured, another tool in their HIV prevention toolbox that they did not have before.

‘It also shows that health officials understand the important role PrEP has in the response to HIV and AIDS in the State of Florida.’

There are reportedly only 145,000 active prescriptions for HIV prevention use.

Downer continued: ‘We have the ability to move this discussion about PrEP to the forefront. Medical providers should feel confident asking their patients about sex, and letting them know what their HIV prevention options are.

‘We must ensure that no one is denied access to PrEP regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, inability to pay, and sexual orientation.’

 


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