Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018
 

New nationwide PrEP directory debuts

NEWS


liz@black-rose.com

Assistant Professor Aaron Siegler
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A new web-based directory and search engine will help people find providers nationwide that offer PrEP for HIV prevention. The directory – http://www.preplocator.org – launched last week at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in Hollywood, Florida and so far includes more than 1,200 PrEP-friendly physicians and clinics.

"Lots of health information says 'talk to your doctor.' PrEP Locator goes further and reduces barriers to getting PrEP by saying, 'this is exactly where you can get it,'" said Dan Wohlfeiler, director of Building Healthy Online Communities, which aims to improve online prevention in conjunction with dating and hookup sites and apps.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gilead Sciences' Truvada (tenofovir/emtricitabine) for HIV prevention in July 2012. Its use has grown rapidly in recent years in cities like San Francisco and New York, but in some parts of the country – especially outside urban areas – it can be difficult to find providers who are knowledgeable and non-judgmental about PrEP.

Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a nationwide survey had found that one-third of U.S. health care providers had not heard about PrEP, and some providers who are aware of PrEP do not feel comfortable prescribing it.

"Even though any doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant in the U.S. is able to prescribe PrEP, many are not capable of displaying sensitivity, compassion, or respect," Damon Jacobs, who started the popular PrEP Facts Facebook group, told the Bay Area Reporter . "The PrEP directory will give all men and women who are interested in protecting themselves the opportunity to seek out professionals who are considerate and skillful at prescribing pre-exposure prophylaxis."

PrEP Locator currently includes more than 1,200 clinics and providers – both public and private – in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The crowd-sourced database allows users to suggest new providers or update existing information, and PrEP providers can add themselves. The directory is available both as a stand-alone website and as a widget that can be used on other webpages.

California already has a directory called http://www.PleasePrEPMe.org, initially compiled by Shannon Weber of UCSF and HIVE (formerly the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center), which helps people find PrEP-friendly providers in the state. PleasePrEPMe is one of the partners developing the new national directory.

"Lots of different organizations around the country were starting to build their own PrEP databases," Wohlfeiler told the B.A.R. "It's much easier for people looking for PrEP, and clinics providing it, if there's one reliable, centralized database."

PrEP Locator was developed by the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and partners including Greater Than AIDS and AIDSVu, with financial support from the MAC AIDS Fund.

"PrEP has the potential to substantially reduce the number of new HIV infections in the United States, but only if people know how and where to get it," said Aaron Siegler, an assistant professor at the Rollins School who led the project. "Importantly, the tool features a search function that allows users to search for PrEP providers who would prescribe to individuals without insurance."

 






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