Michigan To Revisit HIV Prevention Plan In Light Of Advances

By Todd Heywood

The Michigan Department of Community Health says that a plan to address the HIV epidemic in the state will be revisited 18 months early as a result of "rapidly changing" landscapes of the epidemic.

"Michigan has a Statewide Coordinated Statement of Needs and HIV/AIDS comprehensive plan that was written to cover the period of 2012 through 2015," Angela Minicuci, spokesperson for MDCH wrote BTL in response to an inquiry about New York state's recently announced plan to dramatically cut new HIV cases in the state by more than two-thirds by 2020. "Although for Ryan White we do not have to develop another plan until 2016, we believe this needs to be updated as the landscape is rapidly changing, and so we are planning a State Needs Assessment this fall. The results of that assessment will be used to update a statewide comprehensive plan that focuses on the entire HIV care continuum."

The New York plan includes negotiated pricing for drugs, assuring that people with HIV are linked to and kept in care and accessing medications and developing systems to give access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs. The plan was announced during New York City pride celebrations late last month.

MDCH has undergone a dramatic shift in public stances related to PrEP. The intervention uses the anti-HIV drug Truvada, taken daily, to prevent infection. Using the drug every day can be up to 99 percent effective in preventing HIV transmission, the National Institutes of Health reports. While the drug has been approved as a preventative since July 2012, MDCH was not embracing the intervention as recently as two months ago. However, in May, the CDC released broad new guidelines for prescribing PrEP. The new guidance could expand the drug's use to some half a million at risk for HIV. MDCH announced it would begin to follow the new CDC guidance.

The news comes just weeks after BTL, in conjunction with local AIDS service organizations around the state, launched a new HIV testing and prevention program called PrEP4ITNow.com. The event was launched to support National HIV Testing Day events held on and around June 27. The Lansing Area AIDS Network reports the event it created around the new program resulted in over 50 HIV tests being conducted - one of the best such events at the agency in years. Red Project reports it conducted over 100 tests at local bars over two nights, while CARES reported a testing event in Benton Harbor resulted in 30 tests.


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