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Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles will provide both PrEP and PEP to clients.

Earlier this month Planned Parenthood announced it would provide both pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis drugs to patients in its clinics, starting with its newest location in West Hollywood, according to Southern California Public Radio

The health care organization known for providing contraception, STI testing, and women's wellness exams is entering the anti-HIV arena by offering PrEP (which prevents users from acquiring HIV if taken properly) and and another cocktail of antiretroviral medication called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, which can prevent HIV transmission if taken within 72 hours of sex. It joins 26 other organizations nationwide in providing the medication.

"We will be providing these services at our sites over time," said Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood LA, in a statement.  "We’re going to start with PrEP and PEP here in West Hollywood, because we know it’s the place where there is the most need." 

From there, Planned Parenthood intends to offer the two drugs at all 20 of its locations in Los Angeles by the end of 2016. The only other city in Southern California where Planned Parenthood also provides these drugs is San Diego (the second largest city in California). Additionally, Planned Parenthoods in nearby San Bernardino and Orange counties say they intend to add PrEP and PEP to their rosters as well. 

Though Truvada as PrEP has drawn controversy, in particular from L.A.-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the drug has been approved for use as PrEP by the FDA since 2012 and is now a recommended tool for preventing the spread of HIV by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. 

"PrEP is a game changer and it's really unfortunate it's not reaching as many people who could benefit from it," said Sonali Kulkarni, who oversees the HIV and STD programs for the L.A. County Department of Public Health. "We are in a place where we have a new tool to offer people who are at risk for HIV."

Despite these endorsements, many health care providers, including primary care physicians, still haven't heard of PrEP and some still refuse to prescribe it. This is why, Kulkarni said, the department of public health has created an online directory of PrEP providers and is working with private providers to make PrEP accessible to uninsured patients. 


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