Fulton County’s Health and Wellness Department is boosting its efforts to prescribe a drug aimed at halting the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The county has received additional funding from the Georgia Department of Public Health that will allow it to hire a nurse and hold more appointments with patients in the coming weeks, said Dr. David Holland, the chief clinical officer in the Communicable Disease Prevention Branch of the Fulton health department. Fulton has also started recruiting patients from a county clinic that helps people suffering from sexually transmitted diseases, Holland said.
Studies show the government-approved drug — called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP for short — is extraordinarily effective when taken correctly. So advocates are promoting it as a way to help end the HIV epidemic in the South and across the nation.
Using existing funds within their budget and operating out of their clinic across from Grady Memorial Hospital, Fulton health officials started a pilot assistance program in September to make the drug available.
“What we are doing now is actively recruiting into the clinic, trying to target high-risk individuals to introduce them to PrEP and get as many people on it as we can,” Holland told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have already started some of the recruitment now. We are going to be able to expand our appointments next week – and then, of course, even more expansion as soon as we can get the nurse on board.”
Holland and other county health officials plan to highlight their new efforts in a news conference scheduled for Friday morning.
To learn more about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis — or PrEP — or to schedule an appointment at Fulton County’s PrEP Clinic, call Fulton’s PrEP hotline at 404-613-4708