LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is providing screening, monitoring and medication prescribing services to patients to prevent HIV infection through UAMS HealthNow.
According to a news release sent by UAMS on Monday, non-HIV positive patients who engage in high-risk behaviors and adhere to the use of anti-retroviral medications have experienced a 90% reduction in the transmission of HIV.
UAMS officials say the new Digital Health HIV Prevention Program will provide preventive medications for patients who are at high risk for HIV, who have normal kidney function and who can keep to a daily medication plan with quarterly follow-up.
“Because there are very few providers in Arkansas willing to provide these services, it’s been difficult for patients who might benefit from them to get access to this kind of screening, monitoring and prescribing,” said Joseph Sanford, M.D., interim director of the UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. “UAMS HealthNow and the new Digital Health HIV Prevention program can provide services statewide to anyone with internet access on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer.”
Shashank Kraleti, M.D., residency program director in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, will serve as supervising physician for the program.
“Along with Dr. Sanford, we recognized this need,” said Stacy Petty, APRN, director of UAMS HealthNow. “UAMS HealthNow can offer the privacy and confidentiality that may make it easier for patients to seek these services from us. We’re ready to do that as well as provide the follow-up consultations needed to help keep patients free of HIV.”
UAMS officials say the following are among the patients who can benefit from the new program:
- Those who have had sexual intercourse in the past six months and who have not consistently used a condom, had a sexual partner with HIV, and/or have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the past six months.
- Those who inject drugs other than those prescribed and/or share needles, syringes or other equipment.
- Those who have used measures against HIV after being exposed to it and have continued high-risk behavior.
UAMS HealthNow will be seeing patients in the program initially and then for continued care every three months after that, according to the news release.
Testing will be required with each visit, and UAMS officials say they are collaborating with LabCorp to offer testing and laboratory access to labs in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Texarkana, Batesville, Jonesboro and Fort Smith.
UAMS officials say the program is open to anyone in Arkansas, not just people who already or have been patients at UAMS.
The Digital Health HIV Prevention Program accepts health insurance as well as cash.