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New HIV PEP Partnership


Partnership formed to assist victims of sexual assault with HIV PEP Medication and Aftercare

Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence (SEMO-NASV) has formed a new partnership with the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Department & Rural Health Clinic, and John’s Pharmacy. This new partnership will provide much needed care and assistance for survivors of sexual assault that may also have had exposure to HIV. When a survivor receives services from SEMO-NASV, medical providers on staff will screen them for the risk of HIV transmission. When the risk is high the client will be assessed for possible treatment with Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) medication. If PEP treatment is indicated, the initial doses will be prescribed immediately, and the survivor will be referred to the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Department & Rural Health Clinic to continue their medical care. John’s Pharmacy will ensure SEMO-NASV’s access to PEP medication and stock the medication for survivors to fill prescriptions. Timely care and monitoring are important for potentially exposed survivors. Individuals must receive PEP medication within 72 hours of possible exposure, to reduce the risk of infection in time. Studies show if PEP meds are started early, they can reduce transmission rates by as much at 80%.

Tracy Smith, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and Forensic Interviewer for SEMO-NASV, knows how important this partnership will be for clients facing this challenge. “Survivors of sexual assault face many barriers in getting the help they need following an assault. This collaboration will make it possible for our agencies to work together to get vital preventive treatment into the hands of individuals at high-risk of HIV in a timely manner.”

Not only does the medicine need to be administered quickly, but continuing the medication as directed for 30 days, is also imperative to the success of PEP. SEMO-NASV wants to make sure that the survivor is given continuing care after the initial dose. The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Department & Rural Health Clinic will help survivors with this continuing care. Staff at the Rural Health Clinic will gather baseline labs, help survivors apply for assistance in receiving the 30-day PEP medication, continue to monitor labs, and assist with Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) medication in the future, if needed.
“We are just so pleased that sexual assault survivors in southeast Missouri will have one less barrier to assuring their health and safety as they move forward and heal. This new partnership will make sure their care is seamless” says Kendra Eads, Executive Director of SEMO-NASV. SEMO-NASV offers advocacy and counseling to children and adults throughout nine counties in Southeast Missouri who have experienced sexual violence or child physical abuse. If you have or are experiencing sexual violence, you can call SEMO-NASV’s 24-hour crisis hotline at (877) 820-6278.