Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

25 January 2012

Implications for social services in the time of PrEP and other new prevention technologies

via New America Media, by Zalined Mohammed

“The pendulum swing towards earlier treatment could come at the expense of other services,” said Lin. “Prevention efforts through education have been reduced and support to CBOs is significantly down. Many organizations have had to merge or close down.”

Major medical breakthroughs over the past year in the treatment of HIV/AIDS are setting off some surprising alarm bells.

While praised for their life-saving potential, they are causing a change in the dynamics of HIV/AIDS care – a shift that may squeeze out social services needed to support patients while they’re in treatment.
The focus in treatment is shifting increasingly towards HIV/AIDS medications and preventative strategies, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and HPTN 052.

At a recent forum in Oakland, attendees questioned how the new HIV medicines would directly affect their lives.

“It’s exciting, but will it help save lives in our communities?” asked Deborah Royal, a nurse practitioner at East Bay AIDS Center.

Providers and patients agree that advances in medication and a focus on prevention are positive steps towards treating the disease and slowing disease transmission, but also emphasize the importance of what they call “psychosocial” factors in determining whether a person starts and stays in treatment.

“The easy part is prescribing the medication, but how is the patient going to get the medications paid for?” asked Dr. Royce Lin, an HIV specialist who serves on the board of the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center (APIWC). He noted, “if someone is monolingual, if someone is undocumented they may never even make it in the first place.”

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an HIV and primary care provider at Ward 86, one of the oldest and largest HIV/AIDS clinics in the country, pointed to several barriers that commonly prevent female patients from adhering to treatment protocols. “Gender based violence, poverty, social instability around taking care of children and not having social supports themselves prevent women from staying in treatment.”

Read the rest.

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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