MeckPAC has worked since 1998 to ensure the equality of our local LGBTQ community. We’ve done so through public policy work on a variety of non-discrimination measures. We also recognize that continued progress for our community means tackling important, intersectional issues of health and equity. When individuals are empowered to take control of their own health and wellbeing, we know that individual and community health benefits increase. It falls to the county commission and health board to ensure that full health outcomes are realized for all members of our community, including those who cannot access traditional prevention and treatment methods. As we move toward World AIDS Day this year and throughout 2018, we are activating a new campaign to ensure Mecklenburg County provides support for PrEP, one of the most effective ways to end new HIV diagnoses. Mecklenburg County has the highest number of new HIV diagnoses in the state, but we know we can end all new local HIV diagnoses by 2020. In order to do so, Mecklenburg County must expand its support for PrEP access, in addition to its current work on HIV prevention.
Want to support MeckPAC’s PrEPinMeck effort? Support our work by making a contribution today or by RSVP-ing to attend our April 10, 2018, Spring Reception.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is PrEP?
PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is an FDA- and CDC-approved once-daily medication which, when taken properly and in combination with adequate follow-up care, can reduce the risk of HIV transmission for an HIV-negative person by more than 90 percent. PrEP is among the newest waves of progress in HIV prevention and has been adopted for use by communities across the country.
How effective is PrEP?
When taken properly, PrEP can reduce the risk of HIV transmission by more than 90 percent. PrEP’s efficacy rate is significantly higher than condom use alone, which has an efficacy rate ranging from 63-80 percent.
Is PrEP offered in Mecklenburg County?
Yes. And no. Several private medical practices currently prescribe PrEP and offer the necessary follow-ups for lab work and other physician visits. But Mecklenburg County through its public health services currently does not offer prescriptions nor do they offer support for follow-up labs. This lack of access is a barrier to those most at-risk of new HIV transmissions.
Who is at the highest risk of new HIV transmissions and who could benefit from publicly-supported PrEP services?
Longterm and recent trends show several communities continue to be at high risk for a new HIV diagnosis, including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, transgender women, and individuals in the Black and Latino communities. Young people aged 13-24, as well as seniors, are at a high risk. Recent trends also show increasing risks for Black women. For those who live at or below the poverty line, and therefore lack access to private healthcare, publicly-supported PrEP services would fill an important gap and speed up our collective work to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Do other local communities in North Carolina offer PrEP services?
Yes. PrEP services, including in some instances full clinics offering lab work and other follow-up care, are offered in next-door Cabarrus County, as well as Wake, Orange, Durham and Surry Counties. Other counties are due to soon follow course, including Guilford and next-door Gaston Counties.
How will we work to ensure expanded access?
MeckPAC is launching a public education campaign from December through Spring 2018 to raise awareness of PrEP and its ability to help us end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We’re also engaging community organizations and stakeholders to ensure expanded public funding for PrEP services in Mecklenburg County. In January 2018, together with our partners, we’ll make a formal request that the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners dedicate significant public health funding to address our continuing HIV crisis in Mecklenburg County. Community members will also be able to sign-on to the request. Make sure you sign up for continued updates on our new effort to get notified on when you can sign on to the letter.
How can I help?
You can help right now by signing up for continued updates on our new effort, PrEPinMeck, and by beginning to talk to your friends and colleagues about the importance of publicly-supported PrEP services in Mecklenburg County. Don’t know where to start? Use these FAQs or any of the infographics included below. Interested in becoming a community partner and signing onto to our forthcoming letter to Mecklenburg County Commissioners? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources & Infographics
Click to enlarge and save full-scale graphics below.
What is PrEP? A PrEP 101 video from the CDC
One Daily Pill Can Prevent HIV CDC Fact Sheet
Transgender People & HIV/AIDS CDC Fact Sheet
In Depth: Benefits, Barriers, and Solutions to Expanded Utilization of
Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in the US Deep South