September 16, 2016
This article originally appeared in the Daily Southern section of the Chicago Tribune.
The Cook County Health & Hospitals System (CCHHS) is making PrEP, an HIV-preventive medication, more accessible to people who are at high risk for getting the virus by expanding the number of health centers that prescribe the medication, as well as clinic hours, outreach, and staffing.
If taken daily, the FDA-approved PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by 92 percent for people who are at high risk for becoming infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes.
CCHHS is launching PrEP programs at two of its clinics on Chicago’s West Side this fall. CCHHS’ Provident Hospital on the South Side is also partnering with community-based groups providing outreach services for its PrEP program, so that more people who may be at risk of contracting HIV know about the resources and clinical services available to them if they choose to start PrEP. And CCHHS’ Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, which provides care for persons with HIV and other infectious diseases, has extended the hours of its PrEP clinic to 5 days a week.
“We’re committed to doing all we can to reduce new HIV infections, and PrEP is an integral part of that,” said Dr. David Schwartz, Chair of Infectious Diseases at CCHHS.
CCHHS’ Austin Health Center, 4800 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, launched a PrEP clinic on August 15. Dr. Jorge Prieto Health Clinic, a CCHHS clinic located at 2424 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, opened its PrEP clinic today on September 15. Both will be open two to three days a week.