by Ahmed Chaudhry

The Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) welcomed Dr. Jaime Martinez and representatives from Gilead Sciences to a luncheon at Nellie’s Restaurant on Thursday, May 3rd for a discussion and educational presentation on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for Vida/SIDA Staff in order to reach the communities who may be at-risk for HIV transmission.

Gilead Sciences introduced Truvada® for PrEP in 2012 as a preventive measure with early results demonstrating a nearly 40% decrease in new cases of HIV infections in San Francisco and other urban areas. Subsequently, studies have shown that taking PrEP daily leads to an over 95% decrease in risk per individual. Lab testing at the World Health Organization has further demonstrated this crucial protection to the virus can become effective in as little as 7 doses.

Data has shown that 72% of people on PrEP are white: it is very difficult to access in communities of color where it is needed the most amongst Latinx and African Americans due to lack of insurance and the high cost of the medication. In response to this, the PRCC-Vida/SIDA has started the PrEPárate Program to provide affordable options for all those interested and in need of PrEP. The fact remains that many primary care providers in the healthcare system feel uncomfortable discussing sexual risk behaviors and two-thirds of physicians are unaware that PrEP even exists. In efforts to bring this knowledge and service to the community and assist in the linkage, referral and prescription process, the PRCC hopes to continue building this crucial partnership with Gilead Sciences moving into the future.