The Florida Department of Health will offer free HIV prevention drug Truvada across the state by the end of 2018, reports Orlando Weekly.
Truvada as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, has been available at 16 county health departments for several months, but by the end of this year, all 67 county departments will offer the daily pill to people at risk for HIV. The rollout is the result of a mandate from Florida Department of Health Surgeon General and Secretary Celeste Philip.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, Florida had the third highest rate of HIV diagnoses, with 28 out of 100,000 Floridians diagnosed with the virus. This followed Georgia (31.8) and Washington, DC, (55.6).
As the Orlando Weekly points out in a related article, Florida’s rate of new diagnoses is nearly double the national rate; the Miami and Orlando areas have been particularly hart hit compared with other U.S. cities.
Making PrEP available throughout the state is part of the health department’s strategy to combat HIV rates. The four key elements are:
- Promoting routine screening for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Increasing testing among populations at higher risk of HIV and providing immediate access to treatment for those who are HIV positive
- Making pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP and PEP) more available
- Building community awareness about HIV.
To learn more about PEP and PrEP, read the POZ Basics here.