Select branches of Planned Parenthood (PP), an organization that has provided sexual healthcare for 102 years, are expanding to cover programs for gay men and transgender people, reported Philadelphia Gay News.
While PP has specialized in reproductive healthcare and education for women, they will now offer PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to gay men and trans people to prevent HIV infection, according to Phebe Brandt, a Philadelphia-based PP clinician.
“We do all the counseling around [PrEP],” Brandt said. “We do all the testing that’s necessary, we actually provide prescriptions. And if people don’t have insurance and need to go through the program through Gilead to pay for it, we facilitate the applications for that.”
Gilead, a pharmaceutical company, created in an in-house program to help uninsured people access highly priced medications.
Not only is PrEP available at PP, but so is hormone therapy for trans people.
“We started providing hormone therapy for trans folks over a year ago,” Brandt said. “We have everybody on their first visit meet with a social worker. They make sure that the client is in a good place to be starting hormone therapy… If everything checks out, if everything is good, we actually have the medication in house to get them started on the hormone therapy.”
“We soon realized that we were doing a disservice to our patients because we realized that trans folks who have sex with men are at such high risk for acquiring HIV, it was a disservice to them to not offer PrEP.”
Currently, these services are available only at the Philadelphia location Brandt works at. However, she expects other branches will offer PrEP soon.