BBJ: Chase Brexton has a regimen to slash the risk of HIV infections

truvada health care prep

Sara SalinasReporter
Baltimore Business Journal

Three years ago, HIV prevention methods were almost entirely behavioral. Those at risk for contracting the virus could try to avoid it by abstaining from sex, wearing condoms or selectively choosing who they had sex with, but no prevention method was an exact science.

Then came Truvada, a drug that prevents the HIV virus — transmitted at a rate of 50,000 new infections a year in the U.S. — from taking hold in the body. The drug has been found to be 92 percent to 99 percent effective when taken every day. In 2012 the Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada, an HIV treatment in use since 2004, as a method for HIV prevention.

Chase Brexton Health Care built a patient-centered care model around Truvada a year later, in 2013. The Mount Vernon-based health system was founded as an LGBT health clinic in 1978, positioning itself as the LGBT-friendly option in Baltimore even after expanding to full primary care services in 1995. Chase Brexton remains one of the few providers in the city to offer comprehensive HIV prevention.

Dr. John Vaz and Jill Crank, manager of medical services at Chase Brexton, were early to recognize the potential of a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) program to slow the HIV epidemic. Chase Brexton’s PrEP program involves a daily regimen of Truvada in combination with patient education and continued monitoring. The program involves not just the prescribing provider but a wide network of patient supports: case managers, nurses, therapists and medical assistants.

PrEP is most commonly administered to men who have sex with men but is also prescribed to IV drug users and couples with one HIV-positive partner who want to get pregnant without transmitting the infection.

Vaz and Crank spoke with the Baltimore Business Journal about the successes they’ve seen with Chase Brexton’s PrEP program.

Read the whole story at the Baltimore Business Journal.