New, free anti-HIV drug clinic set to open

AIDS Resource Inc., a community-based agency serving Lycoming, Clinton, Centre, Snyder, Union and Potter counties, will start a new, free clinic to offer an anti-HIV drug Truvada, also called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), beginning April 28 at its 500 W. Third St.

Clinic physician Dr. Andrew Haussmann is a longtime member of the AIDS Resource Board of Directors. People needing an appointment should call 570-322-8448, ext. 0 or email prep@aidsresource.com.

PrEP is highly effective in both men and women, but women may need to be more adherent to reap maximum benefit. The drug is considered an antiretroviral medication to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are HIV negative.

Daily medication marketed as Truvada has been approved for use in populations at high risk of HIV by a number of national regulatory agencies in the United States. Trials of the medication show that people who take the medication as prescribed found they had high levels of protection against HIV infection. The preventative drug, which must be taken daily, is meant for any man or woman who engages in unprotected sex.

“This is an ideal opportunity for anyone who for anyone who is at-risk to dramatically reduce their chance of contracting HIV. Our services are absolutely free and our physician provides medically-accurate information that is free from judgement,” Kirsten Burkhart, AIDS Resource executive director, said.

“We still encourage people to use condoms during every sexual encounter and free condoms are available at our office during regular business hours,” Burkhart added.

Burkhart noted people using the clinic will need to have blood work performed every three months at a lab. The agency is negotiating with a local lab to provide a discount for users who don’t have insurance.

AIDS Resource started in 1988 and offers case management, financial support, mental health counseling, HIV/STD testing, prevention and education. The agency employs 14 full- and part-time staff at offices in Williamsport and State College. Currently, the clinic only is offered at the Williamsport site. However, any resident in the region may use the clinic.

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