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PrEP in Black America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 19, 2022 Reflecting on the 10th Year Anniversary of PrEP, HIV Prevention Advocates Announce “PrEP In Black America” Summit to Create Plan to Address Racial Disparities Atlanta, GA. As many advocates are reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the first medication for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (known as “PrEP”), Black HIV prevention advocates are expressing deep frustration with the persistently low rates of knowledge and utilization of PrEP in Black communities in the U.S., despite continuing racial disparities in the epidemic. In order to address these issues, advocates are planning a “PrEP in Black America'' Summit taking place in Atlanta in September to mobilize leaders to create a plan for how to better promote, educate, and implement PrEP in Black communities across the country. “According to data from the CDC, 91% of Black Americans who can benefit from PrEP have not received a prescription,” says Leisha McKinley-Beach, a nationally recognized HIV consultant and advocate based in Atlanta. “We can’t say PrEP is a success until Black America benefits from it.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black people accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019, even though we make up only 12.4% of the nation’s population. A recent study published this year by CDC also noted that HIV testing among Black Americans dropped by 50% in 2020 from the previous year due to COVID-19 lockdowns and the pandemic's impact on public health programs. Since HIV testing is an opportunity to initiate PrEP, Black advocates are concerned that we may see further setbacks in PrEP use and reductions in HIV diagnoses in coming years. “The COVID-19 pandemic created a significant block in HIV prevention services which has compounded our nation's failure to ensure Black people have equitable access to PrEP, “ said Raniyah Copeland, of Equity & Impact Solutions. “We must ensure all Black communities--men, women, gay, queer, heterosexual, transgender and nonbinary know about PrEP and can easily access it, no matter their insurance status or where they live in the country.” "It is widely believed that we now have all the tools necessary to end the HIV epidemic. The approval of oral PrEP in 2012 as a tool to prevent HIV was an extraordinary game-changer that should have been scaled up exponentially, particularly to reach populations that carry the disproportionate burden of the epidemic. But, shamefully, that has not been the case. Now, with the recent approval of injectable PrEP, we are in danger of repeating history yet again. As we recognize the 10th year anniversary of oral PrEP's approval, we must recommit to turning the ship of inequity around," says Riko Boone, HIV Project Director of Treatment Action Group. In this year’s budget request, President Biden asked Congress to create a new national “PrEP for All” program with $9.8 billion over 10 years to help fund PrEP medications, doctor visits, lab costs for STI screenings and other support services. Understanding this year’s budget and political constraints, activists from many national, state and local organizations have called on Congress to provide discretionary funding to help CDC get this program off the ground in 2023, and with demonstrated success allow for fully funding a national program in coming years. "Part of the cause of racial disparities in PrEP use is we’ve had no large scale national promotion efforts, doctors who are in our communities aren’t talking to their patients about PrEP, and many people think PrEP is too expensive or it’s just for gay men,” Kenyon Farrow, Managing Director of Advocacy and Organizing with PrEP4All. “We need a national program to address these issues, and we’re holding this summit in Atlanta to hear from Black leaders in public health, racial justice groups, civic leaders and people who are on PrEP to devise a plan that will meet the needs of Black folks in America.” “It’s time for Black people-leaders, providers, clinicians, researchers, advocates, to lead the effort to ensure that a PrEP is an accessible HIV prevention strategy for us, by us,” Danielle M. Campbell, a Los Angeles based activist and public health professional. The PrEP In Black America Summit is scheduled for September 13, 2022 in Atlanta, GA, and advocates are hoping to support other advocates to host ongoing PrEP In Black America conversations and actions in their own cities. Stay up-to-date on ongoing efforts by signing up at the link below, follow the PrEP In Black America Summit social media channels, and join the conversation by using the hashtag #PrEPInBlackAmerica. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prepinblackamerica Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/prepinblackamerica Twitter: https://twitter.com/prepinblkUS For media inquiries, contact Michael Chancley at michael@prep4all.org. To support the PrEP In Black America Coalition, contact Leisha McKinley-Beach at leishamckinleybeach@gmail.com.

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