Health

LA Supervisors expand program that offers HIV-prevention drug Truvada

Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell.
Scanning electromicrograph of an HIV-infected H9 T cell.
NIAID/flickr Creative Commons

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The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to expand an HIV prevention program that’s proven highly effective in reducing the spread of the deadly virus that infects hundreds of county residents annually.

The county’s been providing the anti-HIV drug, Truvada, at four of its clinics under a program approved last summer.  With Tuesday's vote, supervisors approved $11.5 million in funding for nine additional providers to distribute the drug over the next two years to uninsured and underinsured high-risk patients.

 The providers are:

The supervisors' action builds on the existing network of more than two dozen public and private clinics that provide Truvada.

The once-daily pill is central to a strategy known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says when taken daily and before exposure, Truvada is more than 90 percent effective in preventing the spread of the HIV virus among high-risk populations.  

The facilities receiving the funding will also provide post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, to patients. PEP is designed to keep those who've potentially been exposed to HIV from becoming infected. It calls for taking antiretroviral drugs within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure.  

HIV infects about 1,800 Los Angeles County residents each year, according to the most recent data from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

This story has been updated to reflect that the City of Long Beach is not one of the participants in the expanded PrEP program. It was going to be included, but withdrew, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.