Northern State Hospital pharmacy now offers drugs for people exposed to HIV
People who may have been exposed to HIV can now go to a pharmacy in central New York City to get drugs that prevent the development of the disease.
This is called PEP, short for post-exposure prophylaxis, a combination of drugs that prevent a person from contracting HIV if they have been exposed to the virus. Healthcare providers have used it for years after being exposed to things like accidental needle sticks. Anyone else worried about the exposure ended up in an emergency room, which is not an ideal situation, according to Dr Elizabeth Asiago Reddy, director of the Immune Health Clinic at Upstate University. Hospital.
“We want everyone to be exposed to drugs as quickly as possible,” said Asiago Reddy. “But that person is not sick. So having this person sitting around an emergency department waiting room, using emergency department staff and finances doesn’t make sense.”
Now these people can be referred to the upstate outpatient pharmacy for PEP.
“They can go to the SUNY Upstate outpatient pharmacy during their hours, get advice, get a risk assessment,” said Asiago Reddy. drug to cover this exposure.
And more than that, she said it was an opportunity to suggest PrEP, a daily pill that can prevent HIV.
“When someone has an exposure, that’s when they realize they want to make a change and want to be safer next time around,” said Asiago Reddy.
The upstate pharmacy is the only one to offer PEP locally, although the state began allowing pharmacies to dispense the drug two years ago. The others closest are in Rochester and Albany. Access to this drug is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to reduce the HIV epidemic by the end of 2020.