The Trump Administration wants to end the spread of HIV by 2030.
This week the president called for millions of dollars in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
WJTV 12 has more on a specific medication that’s included in the plan.
PrEP is a medication that essentially can stop the virus before a person develops it. One clinic we talked to is already using PrEP. In fact, the Open Arms Clinic has been using it for years. We wanted to know more about the drug.
The clinic sees all sorts of patients. One main focus is HIV.
“I would say over the last 12 months, we’ve had 322 visits for PrEP and right now we’ve probably had about 54 patients on PrEP,” said Dr. Melvin.
Dr. Melvin is the chief operating officer and says the drug is 90 percent effective.
It can be an expensive drug, costing anywhere from $1,600 to $2,000 if you are paying out of pocket, but there is a rebate program.
“For patients who are with our patient’s assistance program, it can be up to 50 percent reduced,” said Dr. Melvin. “It can even be free.”
Jackson ranks among the top five cities in the country with the most HIV infections.
According to the CDC’s most recent numbers: Of the 38,739 new HIV cases in 2017, 52 percent were in the South including here in Mississippi.
Dr. Melvin wants to bring those numbers down, and she wants to get rid of the HIV stigma.
“We must know our status and know things are in place to take care of ourselves,” said Dr. Melvin.
Dr. Melvin says PrEP programs like these need to be put in place in other areas of the state.