PHILADELPHIA—The AIDS Activities Coordinating Office of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (AACO) is proud to announce the launch of the Philadelphia TelePrEP program. This program is critical to the Health Department’s promise to leverage coordination between federal and local organizations and health care providers to make PrEP HIV pre-exposure prevention available to all Philadelphians.
Dr. Kathleen Brady, Director of the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office, described the program as “first of its kind in the region and a true opportunity to bring PrEP to people where they live.”
The Health Department estimates that nearly 300,000 HIV-negative Philadelphians are at risk for HIV, and an estimated 8,200 who are HIV-negative have an indication for PrEP. In Philadelphia, a PrEP gap exists because of individual, provider, and systemic barriers ranging from racism, homophobia, transphobia, and HIV-related stigma, and access to basic necessities.
To effectively respond to this need, the Health Department’s AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) partnered with Albert Einstein Medical Center to create the Philadelphia TelePrEP program. This program aligns with the current EHE Health Plan’s ‘Pillar Zero’ initiative that addresses stigma and systemic barriers. Significantly increasing the use of PrEP is a core goal of Philadelphia’s EHE Community plan, specifically, by 2025, 50% of people with a PrEP indication will be prescribed PrEP, and 100% of people seeking PEP will be prescribed treatment.
The Health Department AACO’s objectives for this project are to improve access to PrEP services in Philadelphia and to encourage frequent testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Patients can receive prep services at no cost, even if they don’t have insurance. The TelePrEP program is private, delivered virtually or over the phone. Test kits for labs are delivered directly to the patient. With these streamed-lined processes, the Health Department aims to take a patient from interest, via advertisements, to initiation, where medication is given, within seven days. TelePrEP services are accessible to any Philadelphia resident who is indicated for PrEP, including the following populations most impacted by HIV:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men
- Black and Hispanic cis-gender heterosexual women
- Youth 16 to 24 years of age
- Young adults aged 25 and 34 years of age
- Transgender persons who have sex with men
- Persons who inject drugs and their sex and needle-sharing
For more information on this program, please contact the Health Information Helpline at 215-985-2437 or online at Philly Keep on Loving.