Article provided by: Saban Community Clinic
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is an antiviral medication prescribed to people who risk exposure to HIV infection. Most HIV prophylaxis guidelines prioritize the patient and ensure that they continue receiving PrEP care even when an external event disrupts healthcare services.
When the pandemic started, hospitals and other medical institutions shifted their focus to managing and minimizing Covid-19 infections. This sudden shift disrupted other medical services, including Prophylaxis for HIV. Most states came up with guidelines to ensure that Pre-exposure prophylaxis ran undisrupted amid the pandemic.
Availing of PrEP medication
While managing through a pandemic, PrEP clinics still have to provide medication to PrEP clients. One way to do this is by mailing prescription drugs to patients. A second option is availing of online prescriptions that are valid in pharmacies.
With reduced patient-clinician interaction, PrEP clinics allowed their patients to recuperate at home. Clinic visits are reserved for quarterly testing to monitor the patient’s health. Lab visits were solely for HIV infection testing and determining the PrEP dosage for a patient.
PrEP Testing and Prescription
Even with a disruptive event like the pandemic, it is still necessary to provide PrEP care to those that need it. One way to overcome the challenges in care provision is by encouraging at-home self-testing. PrEP patients can use oral swabs to test themselves and turn in the results at the nearest clinic.
Yet, there are concerns about the accuracy of oral PrEP swabs. PrEP clinics are addressing these shortcomings by partnering with molecular testing labs to increase testing accuracy. A clinician will collect the sample from a patient’s home and send it to molecular labs for testing. Unfortunately, oral swabs only come in handy molecular lab testing, or other testing options are not available.
Referral PrEP care
If a PrEP clinic is closing down or suspending its services, its caregivers must offer referrals to other clinics and pharmacies. The transfer of patients to other facilities should be smooth and facilitated by the clinician. It ensures that patients continue to receive PrEP care despite the disruption.
Issuing prep prescription
When a patient’s HIV results turn out negative, PrEP clinicians will put them on a 30-day Prep prescription to prevent HIV infection. After 30 days, the patient goes back for a PrEP refill. Yet, with perceived disruptions, new PrEP guidelines suggest a 90-day prescription plan instead of 30 days. It minimizes the patient’s trips to the clinic and ensures adherence to the recommended PrEP dosage.
PrEP prescriptions are only applicable to people who are HIV-negative but have a high risk of getting infected. It includes anyone exposed to the virus through intercourse or sharing of injectable needles. The demographic for PrEP medication include;
- Sexually active HIV-negative gay and bisexual persons
- HIV negative heterosexuals
- Sexually active transgender people who are HIV negative
- People who are HIV negative but constantly used injectable drugs
- Anyone who has used multiple doses of Post Exposure Prophylaxis drugs and exhibit continued risky behavior
It is possible to get PrEP prescriptions if you meet the prescription criteria observed by most PrEP clinics. Qualified PrEP patients have a right to receive PrEP treatment and medication from clinics even in the wake of external hindrances to adequate Medicare.
Please call Saban Community Clinic at 323-653-1990 to learn more about our clinic or services.