AHP is on the front lines of making PrEP (Pre-exposure [HIV] prophylaxis) accessible to our community through a program called PrEP Navigation Services.
For decades, the only way to medically prevent HIV was to take post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) drugs, which when taken within three days of exposure have varying degrees of efficacy. But in 2012, the FDA approved PrEP, marketed as Truvada, for use to prevent HIV transmission.
In January 2016 the San Francisco Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the Getting to Zero initiative, funded a citywide program to end new HIV infections by using PrEP. AHP hired Darrell McElvane to coordinate the PrEP program under the direction of Perry Rhodes III, HIV Counseling and Testing (HCAT) Manager. Under McElvane’s lead, AHP’s PrEP Navigation program is designed specifically to reach MSM (men who have sex with men) of color, youth MSM under 26, transgender persons who have sex with men and people who inject drugs (PWID). McElvane has seen over 200 clients through the program from enrollment to clinic referral. “We can enroll clients in programs to reduce co-pay cost for PrEP, as well as help with doctor discussions and adherence barriers,” explains Rhodes, III. “The PrEP Navigation program continues AHP’s commitment to diversity by increasing marginalized populations’ access to this long-awaited biomedical prevention tool.” McElvane hopes that one day AHP will source PrEP directly to clients, streamlining the process of obtaining the medication and improving accessibility. But despite whatever obstacles there are in getting his clients on PrEP, McElvane remains wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause: “I’ve never had a day when I didn’t love my work.”