Chatham County offers free HIV prevention drug

Health News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The rate of new HIV cases in Savannah isn’t dropping. 

In 2017, The Georgia Public Health Department reported 133 new HIV diagnoses in Chatham County; a number topped only by counties in the Atlanta Metro area. Susan Alt, the department’s HIV Director for the Coastal Health District, says 2018’s numbers aren’t looking much better. 

“The preliminary information for our district looks like that we’re going to have the same number of new diagnoses as we did in 2017,” she says.

Located on Savannah’s Fahm Street, the Chatham CARE Center offers a host of HIV services, including access to the HIV prevention drug PrEP. The CARE center works with pharmacies and drugmaker Gilead to provide the drug for free, to those without insurance.

The Trump administration’s new Ready Set PrEP program aims to do the same thing, annually distributing 2.4 million bottles of PrEP, nationwide. The medication will be donated by Gilead.

Alt says the new federal program really won’t change much for Savannah patients, but thinks it could help increase awareness.

“One thing that will improve, I’m sure, is that patients will hear more about access to PrEP and the ability to get it,” she says.

Alt says the DPH has already started advertising its services on social media apps like Grindr. They also rely heavily on word of mouth.

If you have questions about the HIV prevention drug PrEP, and how to learn if you qualify to get it for free, you can call the local PrEP Hotline at 912-414-4962.

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