Pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP, is a highly effective way to prevent HIV infection. While we are most familiar with the pill that is taken every day, there are new long acting injectables coming down the pipeline, with the potential to improve PrEP adherence. Roughly 1 in 5 people who use drugs are at very high risk of getting HIV. Despite this, very few of them are actually getting PrEP. To hear more about these new advancements in PrEP, and how we can close the treatment gap for people who use drugs, Dr. Linda Wang interviewed Dr. Tony Urbina, an infectious disease physician and Professor of Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine. Dr. Urbina is also the Medical Director of the New York State Clinical Education Initiative HIV Primary Care and Prevention Center of Excellence.
In this episode, Dr. Linda Wang interviews Dr. Margie Urban, an infectious disease physician and Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester and the Medical Director of the New York State Clinical Education Initiative Sexual Health Center of Excellence. Listen as we discuss the rising number of sexually transmitted infections affecting communities across the country and in New York State, and how clinicians and the New York State Department of Health have been responding to this crisis in the middle of a pandemic.
The medical clinic at New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) provides access to healthcare right in the middle of the drop-in center. Participants who come for sterile injection equipment can also receive treatment for hepatitis C and be prescribed buprenorphine, a medication for opioid use disorder, on-site at NYHRE. Perhaps more importantly, they receive all of this at a clinic that is loving, nurturing, and provides non-stigmatizing care to people who use drugs. Hear about how the NYHRE clinic operates and why it is so important to provide this low-barrier model of care to people who use drugs, from Brianna Norton, DO, Medical Director of the NYHRE medical clinic, and Christine Fitzsimmons, RN. Brianna and Christine also talk about the challenges faced during the pandemic, and how they are staying connected to their patients to keep them safe and healthy.
Syringe service programs play a critical role in the lives of people who use drugs, providing not only sterile injection equipment and naloxone kits for overdose reversal, but also a safe and welcoming place to take a shower and get a cup of coffee. Some programs, like New York Harm Reduction Educators (NYHRE) in East Harlem, also provide medical care, including hepatitis C treatment and buprenorphine, a medication for opioid use disorder. In early 2019, when the Covid pandemic hit New York City and led to widespread disruptions in routine healthcare delivery, syringe service programs like NYHRE rapidly adjusted their model of care in order to sustain their life-saving programming. Hear from Sheree, a participant at NYHRE as well as Pia Marcus, Director of Syringe Access and Outreach for NYHRE and Washington Heights Corner Program, about their experiences.