The St. Thomas Community Health Center, located at 1020 Saint Andrew Street, has launched We PrEP Together, an initiative aimed to increase awareness and access to HIV prevention medication among those most vulnerable to contracting the virus in New Orleans.
The campaign’s mission is to reduce the stigma of HIV-related health services by providing confidential, convenient and affordable medical care to those at risk in the region.
According to the St. Thomas Community Health Center, PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, a relatively new prevention method for people who are HIV-negative but at high risk of contracting the virus. When taken daily, the medication can reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent and is generally well tolerated with few side effects.
“We want to eliminate barriers for this care for everyone who can benefit from it,” said Stacy Greene, M.D., Associate Medical Director and Infectious Diseases specialist at St. Thomas Community Health Center, in a statement to the press. “What sets St.Thomas apart is that we offer many other services besides PrEP so visits to our clinics are completely confidential. We hope this will help ease some of the stigma concerning HIV testing and services.”
St. Thomas Community Health Center offers a range of high-quality affordable health care from pediatrics, to women’s health to behavioral and mental health services regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. With five locations across New Orleans offering PrEP, they are committed to helping people stay HIV-negative regardless of their socio-economic status.
“We aren’t trying to change people’s lifestyles. We just want them to be safe and to know that they are not alone,” said Donald Erwin, M.D., CEO at St. Thomas Community Health Center in a statement to the press. “Regardless of your sexual partner’s HIV-status or lifestyle, PrEP can give you ease of mind.”