Friday, September 29, 2017

New Push Seeks to Lower HIV Rates

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 2:51 PM

  • Facebook - Get PrEP Tennessee

State officials launched a program in Shelby County recently to more widely spread an anti-HIV drug here to help curb the area’s high rate of virus and to, ultimately, “bring and end to AIDs.”

The Memphis metro area ranked eighth in the country last year for the diagnosis of HIV and the number of people living with the disease. Diagnoses are highest in the South, disproportionately affecting black men.

The campaign aims to get more people taking a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), an HIV prevention drug. Taking one pill per day, the drug block the virus from taking hold and spreading through the body.

The campaign was launched by the Tennessee Department of Health and the Memphis Ryan White Part A Program in collaboration with Project PrIDE through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If you’re HIV-negative, PrEP is a simple addition to your daily routine that can help you protect yourself without having to drastically change your lifestyle,” said Jessie Claudio, a PrEP Navigator with OutMemphis. “Anyone considering PrEP should contact a local Navigator.”

Navigators work through the program to screen potential PrEP users and then “navigate” them to the drug, which is only available by prescription. Claudio said Navigators can help candidates find local health care providers, and help them buy the drug even if they don’t have insurance.

In Shelby County, there are five Navigator organizations funded through Project PrIDE as part of the Get PrEP TN campaign: Friends for Life, Le Bonheur Community Health and Well-Being, OutMemphis, Partnership To End AIDS Status, and The Haven.

To learn more about PrEP and find a Navigator, visit

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