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Adagio Health Prepares for PrEP

April 15, 2019 by Adagio Health

Beginning Monday, April 29, 2019, Adagio Health will add PrEP to a growing list of expanded healthcare services the nonprofit organization now offers patients in western Pennsylvania.  PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.  Treatment involves taking a once-a-day pill called Truvada that, when used correctly, can help significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission through sexual activity.  Adagio Health will offer PrEP at medical offices in these counties: Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Erie, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence and Venango.

President and CEO BJ Leber is gratified to see PrEP made available to patients of Adagio Health.  “Now, patients in the rural communities we serve won’t have to travel in order to obtain a prescription for PrEP. They can come directly to a nearby Adagio Health office, get the necessary medical exam and bloodwork, and get a prescription for this potentially life-saving drug.”

Director of Practice Operations Lisa Pareso further explains the drug’s significance.  “We recently saw four new cases of HIV diagnosed in western PA. We want to see our patients protected from a chronic health condition they’ll have to live with the rest of their lives.” 

PrEP prescriptions typically cover patients for 90 days, after which they need to come back into the medical office to be seen and tested once again.  “The maker of the drug we’ll be prescribing suggests that patients use a seasonal schedule as a reminder: it’s fall, I need my PrEP check-up.  And then repeat for winter, spring and summer,” says Pareso. 

Adagio Health medical providers say the drug can benefit anyone who is participating in high risk sexual behavior or who believes they may be at risk for HIV.  Previous contraction of a sexually transmitted disease is also believed to increase risk for contraction of HIV.

The makers of Truvada emphasize the following recommendations for patients before and while taking PrEP:

  • You must be HIV-negative before you start and while taking Truvada for PrEP. Do not take Truvada to reduce risk of getting HIV-1 unless you are confirmed to be HIV-negative.
  • Get tested for HIV-1 immeditely before and at least every 3 months while taking Truvada.
  • If you think you were expoed to HIV-1, tell your healthcare provider right away.
  • Do not miss any doses of Truvada. Missing doses may increase your risk of getting HIV-1 infection.

And while PrEP is covered by most commercial health care plans, there are also several no or low-cost plans available for patients who don’t have any insurance.  “That’s really important for patients to know,” says Adagio Health Nurse Practitioner Clinical Manager, Natalie Crouse.  “Don’t let an inability to pay keep you from coming to see us for PrEP. Our healthcare providers are happy to explain the different payment programs that are out there to help patients cover the cost.”

Pareso also wants patients to know that while HIV is no longer considered the fatal disease it once was, it is still a very serious condition.  “It’s a burden. It’s a life-long burden. It’s not a death sentence like it used to be, but it’s still a chronic health condition that affected patients will have to deal with and take medication for the rest of their lives.”

Both Pareso and Crouse also emphasize that Adagio Health is a no-judgment zone for patients.  “The only thing our providers care about is helping patients and providing high-quality care in a warm, friendly office setting. We see patients from all walks of life, and we’re so grateful they trust us with their care,” says Pareso. 

For more information or to find the Adagio Health location nearest to you, log on to adagiohealth.org or call 1-800-215-7494.