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UTMC offering new clinic to provide preventative HIV medication

The University of Toledo Medical Center is now offering medication that could prevent a person from contracting HIV.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for patients at risk for HIV infection through use of daily medication (emtricitabine/tenofovir). Patients can be evaluated at the Ryan White PrEP Clinic from 8 a.m. to noon every Thursday on the Health Science Campus.

Dr. Joan Duggan

Dr. Joan Duggan

“This is a very important part of HIV prevention,” said Dr. Joan Duggan, chief of infectious diseases at UTMC. “PrEP is highly recommended for people at risk for HIV, including people who are intimate with a partner who has HIV and men who are having sex with men. PrEP has also been proven to prevent HIV infection in injection drug users.”

Duggan compared the concept to women taking a daily birth control pill to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Just like birth control, though, nothing is a prevention guarantee, which is why UTMC also distributes condoms with all of its informational packets about PrEP.

“While use of the PrEP medication does decrease the risk of HIV, it does not eliminate the recommendation to use condoms to decrease the risk of HIV and it does not provide protection against any other sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy,” Duggan said.

People might be concerned that PrEP could cause high-risk sexual behaviors, but studies show that isn’t the case, according to Dr. David Grossman, commissioner of the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, which has been referring its patients who are at risk of getting HIV to UTMC for PrEP.

Grossman said a two-year study showed no increase in sexually transmitted diseases for the 545 participants, which indicates that the participants did not have more unprotected sex because they knew they were protected by PrEP.

“We have a good audience and hope we can refer a lot of people,” Grossman said. “We have people who come in for repeated HIV testing and we want to make sure they know about this option.”

Duggan said the medication is expensive, but some insurance companies do cover it and the staff at the Ryan White Program can direct uninsured patients toward programs that offer financial help.

“Offering this medication is the right thing to do and it is something that will go a long way in the war against AIDS,” Duggan said.

Media Coverage
NBC 24 (Aug. 3, 2015)
The Blade (Aug. 4, 2015)
WTOL 11 (Aug. 4, 2015)
WTOL 11 and FOX Toledo (Aug. 4, 2015)
The Independent Collegian (Aug. 19, 2015)


is UT’s Communications Specialist. Contact her at 419.383.5376 or
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