health department has seen an increasing number of IV drug users also
infected with HIV, which has resulted in the training of medical
providers to give the PrEP (a pill that is designed to prevent the
transmission of HIV) to opioid users.
to a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed, giving PrEP and MAT to the opioid
users would offer some much-needed help to the at-risk individuals
and ensure the city becomes the leader in preventing HIV infections
among the demographic.
The report said the number of new HIV cases has been dropping since the mid-2000s, but there are about 19,000 individuals who have HIV with 61 cases being the result of IV drug use. The newspaper also touched on the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System study that tied new infections to Philadelphia sex workers. That study showed 51 percent of women and 30 percent of men with new infections traded sex for drugs, money and other things.
to the rise in coverage regarding the cases, the city’s health
agencies have boosted education efforts about giving PrEP to HIV
patients. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has been
talking with trained doctors located in high HIV areas to talk to
their patients about the drug.
Point, which is a non-profit syringe exchange programs, works right
with IV drug users, making them aware of how to attain PrEP.
According to one report, emergency rooms at Episcopal Hospital and
Temple University Hospital provide screenings for STD and HIV.
of Philadelphia’s Federally Qualified Health Centers and primary
care doctors provide PrEP. Should a person be diagnosed with HIV,
these doctors will work with them to start the PrEP treatment. Most
health insurance plans cover the medication, and when taken
correctly, will have no side effects.
However, the Inquirer op-ed revealed many local treatment centers and providers don’t know about MAT use with PrEP for people with HIV. However, with constant use of the medication to slow the wave of new cases, it would bring Philadelphia to the top in treating HIV.