Partner Voices: What the Heck is PrEP?

April 30, 2013

PxROAR member Nichole Little talks about her recent work with PxROAR colleague Robert Newells.

For years here in Oakland, CA, community health advocates have tried everything to get ahead of the curve on HIV transmission. When presented with a new tool, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), my fellow PxROAR member Robert Newells and I were eager to take advantage. To better understand how our community could implement PrEP we planned a series of local meetings on the subject.

The first of three community meetings took place late last month. Speakers at What the Heck Is PrEP: Biomedical Interventions for an AIDS-Free Generation included Ruben Gamundi from Gilead Sciences, HVTN 2013 Ramp Scholar Angela Scott and Yamini Oseguera-Bhatnagar and Ifeoma Udoh of the Oakland Downtown Youth Center. The presentations were designed as an introduction to PrEP and the clinical trial results of PrEP safety and effectiveness data. Participants included a number of Oakland HIV/AIDS service organizations who discussed the potential benefits of PrEP but expressed concern over the issue of access in a community where many already struggle to receive basic medical care.

The next two meetings in the series will focus on coordinating a response among the larger Oakland HIV prevention community. Later this month we’ll meet with local AIDS service organizations to encourage collaboration in an effort to reach a greater number of people with uniform and accurate information. We’re working to ensure these organizations are familiar with HIV prevention intervention basics and know how to best give this information to their clients and patients.

Our goal is to be sure everyone thoroughly understands the subject matter. It will be at these local organizations that discussions about whether PrEP could work in their community or not. The hope is that the advocates and activists can have informed conversations with clients and other at-risk community members. Robert and I are excited to be able to share this very important and exciting information with our community partners. Oakland is alive and ready to mobilize!