Category Archives: HIV Prevention

May 19th is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From HIV.gov

May 19th is National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This observance, led by the San Francisco Community Health Center, raises awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS, risk, and stigma surrounding HIV in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community.

In recent years, annual HIV diagnoses have increased among some in the API community, such as API young adults and men who have sex with men. Knowing your status gives you powerful information so that you can take steps to lower your HIV risk and take charge of your health. Use the HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator to find a clinic near you or select from the self-testing options available. In addition, the CDC Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign offers resources that promote testing and treatment for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

Read the full article on HIV.gov.

Note that anyone who resides in Pennsylvania can get a free HIV self-test kit from www.getmyHIVtest.comwww.getmyHIVtest.com. Knowing your status will protect you and your community.

No breakthrough HIV infections seen in women using injectable PrEP

From aidsmap.com

The publication follows hard on the heels of detailed efficacy results from the randomized and open-label phases of its companion study in gay and bisexual men and trans women, HPTN 083, which were announced during last month’s Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

A detailed analysis of HIV infections seen in HPTN 084, the study comparing the effectiveness of injectable versus oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in cisgender women, has been published in the Journal of Infectious DiseasesHeadline findings were reported in November 2020 when the study was stopped early due to the clearly superior effectiveness of the injections.

The data shows that for cis women injected PrEP is more effective than oral PrEP, due to it being easier to adhere to, than the pills.

Read the full article on aidsmap.com.

HIV Self-Tests Reached High-Risk Populations

From medpagetoday.com

Direct-to-consumer HIV self-testing helped to reach underserved populations in areas at high risk for HIV infection, a researcher said.

In an ordering portal set up by the CDC, over 56,000 people placed an order for HIV self-tests, and according to a follow-up survey, about a quarter (26%) of those had never been tested for HIV, reported Pollyanna Chavez, PhD, of the CDC. […]

“We estimate about one in eight people with HIV do not know they have it,” Chavez said at a press conference at the virtual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). “One of the goals of ending the HIV epidemic … is to diagnose people as early as possible [and] HIV self-testing is a key innovation being used in pursuit of this goal.”

Read the full article here. People who reside in Pennsylvania can still order a free test kit at www.getmyHIVtest.com. The kit comes in the mail, in an unmarked package.

Penn State and Pitt team up to create getmyHIVtest.com—free HIV test kits to anyone who resides in Pennsylvania, with a focus on minority/ethnic communities most at risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that some racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk for getting HIV than others.  

CDC data shows that Black/African American communities account for a higher proportion of new HIV infections as compared to other races and ethnicities. In 2018, Black/African Americans accounted for 13% of the US population but 42% of new HIV diagnoses.

Similarly, in the same 2018 report, the CDC notes adult and adolescent Hispanics/Latinos made up 27% of the 37,968 new HIV diagnoses in the United States.

Why? Because these communities are impacted by demographic factors such as discrimination, stigma, and institutionalized health disparities—all of which affect their risk for HIV.

So what can we do?  

People who know they’re infected can get into treatment and become HIV undetectable—which means the level of virus in the body is so low that it can’t be passed on to a sex partner. And people who know they’re not infected can take steps to prevent future infection by practicing safer sex (like using condoms) and taking the HIV prevention medication known as PrEP.

The first step, then, to preventing HIV is to get tested.

The good news is that anyone who resides in Pennsylvania can now get a free HIV self-test kit delivered in the mail.

In early 2021, the Pennsylvania Expanded HIV Testing Initiative (at Penn State University) and the HIV Prevention and Care Project (at the University of Pittsburgh) began a joint program called getmyHIVtest.com.

“We created getmyHIVtest.com to make test kits available to anyone in the state who might be at risk for HIV,” explains Raymond Yeo, one of the project’s coordinators at the University of Pittsburgh. “Knowing your HIV status is key in the preventing HIV in our communities—especially those most at risk for new infections.” 

The website, www.getmyHIVtest.com, provides easy-to-follow instructions and online form where PA residents can order their free kit, which typically arrives—in an unmarked package—within five to ten business days. Recipients of the kit are asked to provide basic demographic information and to take a follow up survey as a means to improve the program in the months ahead.  

“This is a big development in the fight against HIV in Pennsylvania and we need all the input we can get,” added Yeo. “It’s unrealistic to think we can test everyone in the state so it’s important that we find ways to get our test kits into the hands of the people who need them the most.”  

Questions and comments about the getmyHIVtest.com program can be sent to info@getmyHIVtest.com. To order your HIV self-test kit, go to www.getmyHIVtest.com.

Get a free HIV self-test kit delivered to your home

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Expanded HIV Testing Initiative (PEHTI) and the HIV Prevention and Care Project (HPCP), has introduced HIV Self-Testing (HST) for individuals who reside in Pennsylvania (excluding Philadelphia County). The goal of the getmyHIVtest.com program is to help people get tested who wouldn’t otherwise go to their doctor or to a testing clinic.  

Tests are available from the website getmyhivtest.com. Individuals are asked to read the information on the website and answer a few questions in order to receive an FDA-approved, OraQuick home HIV test kit mailed to their provided address. Support for clients who request and administer the HIV self-test is available through OraQuick and the HPCP, as noted on the website.   

Individuals who reside in Philadelphia County should visit PhillyKeepOnLoving.com to order the HIV Self-test kit and for additional information about testing from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.   

If you have any questions, please send an email to info@getmyHIVtest.com.  

Mail Order Now an Option for “Ready, Set, PrEP”

From HIV.gov

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently enhanced mail-order delivery options for participants to receive PrEP HIV prevention medication at no cost to eligible individuals without prescription drug coverage. Ready, Set, PrEP participants can choose to have their PrEP medication sent directly to their home or healthcare providers (in participating states) when they enroll or continue to use the more than 32,000 participating co-sponsoring pharmacies.

The option of having PrEP delivered to a preferred location is not only convenient for participants, but it also allows Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities, Tribal Health Programs, and Urban Indian Organizations to provide “one stop shopping” for potential enrollees. They can now get tested, receive their PrEP prescription and get the prescription sent via mail in one visit by enrolling with a healthcare provider’s assistance through GetYourPrEP.com  or the call center by calling 855-447-8410.

“This option allows our IHS, Tribal and Urban facilities the ability to provide a wholly integrated service inclusive of HIV testing, PrEP prescriptions and now the ability for our healthcare providers to offer mail-order for Ready, Set, PrEP enrollees,” said Darrell LaRoche, director of the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services at IHS. “The convenience of getting tested, enrolled and prescriptions mailed in one visit, sent to their home or a healthcare provider, is particularly important in Indian Country where a health center or pharmacy may be hours away.”

Read the full article.

PrEPing for Sisters

From HIV.net

Women are missing from PrEP messaging

When most respondents in a population don’t know about a particular medication, that means that the word is not getting out. Although efforts may have gotten better since 2013, the reality is that most women still are not considered in the marketing of PrEP especially among people that have some high-risk activities within their lifestyle.

The parallels of this lack of knowledge continue a legacy of female bias when it comes to sexual health topics. The female condom is one example of a tool that was meant to empower women to protect themselves. However, the commitment by the health community to engrain it in our cultural sexual education failed and it is always seen as an option that men and women don’t fully embrace.

Find out more on HIVnet.com.

CDC: Black women diagnosed with HIV more than white, Hispanic/Latina women

From NBC online

Black women continue to be diagnosed with HIV at disproportionately high rates relative to white and Hispanic/Latina women, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite recent progress that has seen new HIV diagnoses decrease by 21 percent from 2010 to 2016, black women still accounted for 6 in 10 new HIV infections among women in 2016.

“When we look at the use of Prep, we find that there are disproportionate uses of the drugs. We find that communities of color use Prep less than other communities. Some are not even aware that Prep is out there,” Angarone said.

…Cost also plays a crucial role in black women seeking treatment. Public health experts believe that making Prep and HIV-treatment medications, such as Truvada, affordable to all populations is vital.

“Cost plays a significant role in women seeking treatment. They want to know that insurance covers it. Insurance coverage for Prep is also important,” Angarone said.

“Ultimately, the health of black women has to be made a priority,” Angarone said.

“We have to ask ourselves as a community, how do we get all of the testing strategies that have been working for other populations in place to bring about similar outcomes to the African American female community?”

Read the full article.

Fighting HIV: Gaps in treatment, testing drive new infections

In a new report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday highlighted the gaps in access to treatment and testing resources that exists within the HIV care continuum. Those gaps have led to a halt in recent years to the progress made over the past two decades in reducing HIV infections.

An estimated 15% of people with HIV don’t know they have the virus, and that population accounted for 38% of all new infection, according to the study. Those who know their HIV status but are not receiving care make up 20% of people living with the virus but account for 43% of new infections.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the epidemic could end over the next few years by expanding access to testing and consistent treatment.