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New HIV preventative program at the Campus Health Center

Wayne State University’s Campus Health Center (CHC) has implemented the Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program to prevent the spread of HIV and to continue offering high-quality, inclusive health care to the campus community.

Leading the initiative was Jennifer Ahlquist, an adult nurse practitioner at CHC: “I was ultimately inspired to start the PrEP program after diagnosing several new cases of HIV. I couldn’t help but think that those cases could have been prevented,” said Ahlquist. “PrEP is safe and effective, and empowers us with the opportunity to prevent HIV.”

HIV is a serious virus, with some people more at risk than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 21% of diagnosed cases of HIV in the United States in 2017 were seen in patients between the ages of 13 and 24. That number is far too high, and the PrEP program seeks to lower that number.

PrEP is a medication that those at risk of contracting HIV can take daily to prevent them from obtaining the virus. The CDC states that the medication, if taken daily, is 99% effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV through sex.

Those who start taking PrEP must visit their health care provider for regular check-ups every three months to ensure its effectiveness.

“We now have a safe and effective way to provide another layer of protection against this virus, along with regular condom use,” said Erika Blaskay, CHC’s community outreach nurse. “Anyone who thinks they might be at risk of contracting this virus should talk to their health care provider to see if they qualify for PrEP.”

Those who believe they are at risk of contracting HIV and are interested in starting PrEP should visit CHC or call 313-577-5041.

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