BOSTON (WWLP) – The goal is to reduce the spread of new HIV infections, and activists claim a new drug called “PrEP” could help.
More than 20,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Massachusetts according to Project ABLE, the AIDS Budget Legislative Effort. The statewide AIDS coalition believes prevention and outreach is critical. This year, they are focusing on a new drug to prevent new HIV infections.
Carl Sciortino, executive director of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, told 22News, “We have a new tool called PrEP – Pre-exposure prophylaxis. It’s a pill a day that prevents HIV; it’s kind of like birth control for HIV.”
The committee is urging state lawmakers to secure $35 million dollars in funding that would be spent on prevention and support services. That is $2 million dollars more than the previous fiscal year. These support services include: transportation, case management, nutrition programs and housing.
Sciortino added that, “as a state, we’ve really invested in prevention and support and care for people with HIV, and those investments are paying off. We’re actually having a really positive impact on the reduction of new infections, so it’s money well spent.”
Project ABLE estimates that for every dollar invested in HIV/AIDS prevention, the state saves $4 dollars in long term health care costs. The goal is to achieve zero new HIV infections in Massachusetts.
1.2 million Americans are living with HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control. African Americans are among those most affected by the virus.