Minnesota AIDS Project awarded Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis access grant
Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016
New funding will increase access to extremely effective HIV prevention strategy
The Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP) is excited to announce the award of a Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) grant to increase access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in communities at highest risk for HIV infection.
PrEP is a drug combination that reduces the chances of HIV infection. The currently approved combination of two HIV medicines, tenofovir and emtricitabine, is called Truvada. Truvada has been shown to be highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed.
Significant barriers remain in access to PrEP for people at high-risk for HIV infection in Minnesota. Lack of health insurance or denial of coverage for PrEP, lack of knowledge of the benefits of PrEP, and stigma surrounding the use of PrEP have hampered efforts to access. In particular, access to PrEP has been limited outside of white gay and bisexual men’s communities. Due to these barriers, Injection drug users, high-risk heterosexuals, and persons of color from all HIV risk groups have low rates of adopting PrEP as an HIV prevention strategy. With this grant, MAP will work to change that.
This grant provides MAP the opportunity to increase community-wide efforts that present the facts and confront stigma around PrEP. Through our “Be PrEPared” campaign, MAP has been emphasizing through our outreach and HIV testing program at LGBTQ community events and establishments. That work will be expanded to other high-risk individuals to help them understand their needs and the appropriateness of PrEP in their lives. This will include new efforts to engage people at risk due to injection drug use and to engage negative partners of HIV-positive individuals regardless of their gender or orientation.
Once engaged, MAP will work with intensively with individuals to break down financial and health insurance related barriers to access, and provide follow-up to ensure individuals using PrEP have the tools they need to use it effectively.
“PrEP is one of the most effective HIV prevention tools we’ve had since the HIV epidemic began more than 35 years ago, but stigma and access continue to hamper efforts to get it in the hands of those who need it,” said Darin Rowles, MAP’s Director of Prevention and Coordinated Care. “With this grant we will have the tools to engage the community with factual, science-based information about PrEP, and to help members of the community make the decision of whether PrEP is a good fit for them.”
Those interested in learning more about PrEP can call or text the MAP AIDSLine at 612-373-AIDS or text AIDSLINE to 839863
Evaluating the Minnesota AIDS Walk
Posted on Wednesday, May 4, 2016
This spring, the Minnesota AIDS Project teamed up with students from the University of Minnesota’s Community Health Initiatives program.
With the Minnesota AIDS Walk on hiatus in 2016, MAP leadership wanted to take the opportunity to hear feedback from the community about the event.
The goal was to evaluate the purpose and sustainability of the annual Minnesota AIDS Walk and to gather recommendations for Minnesota AIDS Project’s future fundraising efforts. Information was gathered through focus group sessions, one-on-one interviews, phone interviews, and surveys. In all, 283 stakeholders responded.
The results of that feedback process are available here. Thank you to Megan Hatch and Amy Amsler of the University of Minnesota for their hard work, and to the members of the MAP community who gave us honest and open feedback. Look for future updates about how MAP is incorporating the lessons learned through this process.
2015 Minnesota HIV report shows we are failing communities of color, young gay men
Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016
One new HIV infection in Minnesota is one too many
MINNEAPOLIS, MN April 27, 2016 – According to statistics released by the Minnesota Department of Health, 294 confirmed new cases of HIV were reported in Minnesota during 2015. The Minnesota AIDS Project, the leading source for HIV information and services in Minnesota, believes that this data shows the continued failure of Minnesota leaders to halt the HIV epidemic.
“Two hundred and ninety-four new cases of HIV is completely unacceptable,” said Linda Ewing, CEO of the Minnesota AIDS Project. “As a society, we have the tools and the knowledge to cut new infections in half, but we lack the investment and political will to implement them. In 2016, there is absolutely no reason to continue to see so many people infected with HIV.”
Cases among injection drug users (IDUs) increased by 86 percent in 2015. Despite this, the federal government continues to ban health programs from purchasing syringes with grant funds. This includes MAP’s Mainline syringe exchange, the state’s largest such program.
New HIV cases increased by 24 percent among 20 to 29 year olds. For more than a decade, Minnesota’s political leaders have failed to pass and implement comprehensive sex education with a strong HIV prevention focus that would give young people the knowledge they need to prevent HIV transmission.
The new cases also closely follow the disparities that communities of color experience in our region. More than half of new infections (58 percent) were among communities of color. Among women, more than half were among African-born women, and among men, one-fourth of new cases were among African American men.
These statistics show that more needs to be done in Minnesota. Communities like New York and San Francisco have infused millions into prevention, treatment, and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), and seen dramatic decreases in new infections as well as HIV-related deaths. Minnesota, on the other hand, has seen a continued decrease in funding for HIV prevention over the last 5 years and a rate of new HIV infections that hasn’t budged.
“The Minnesota AIDS Project is calling on government leaders to pass and implement comprehensive sex education that has a strong HIV focus, to end the ban on public funding for syringes, and to fully fund the state’s network of HIV prevention organizations,” Ewing said.
Minnesota AIDS Project is Moving
Posted on Tuesday, March 15, 2016
The Minnesota AIDS Project is moving to 2577 Territorial Road on the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
In mid-April, the Minnesota AIDS Project will be moving from our current location at 1400 Park Avenue to 2577 Territorial Road on the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
This move will mean easier access via transit as well as a more centralized location in in the Twin Cities. Here’s how to find us starting April 11:
● By Bus: MAP’s new location will be served by the 16, 30, and 33 at Berry Street and University Avenue, and the 63B at Territorial Road and Westgate Drive.
● By Train: MAP’s new location is one block from the Green Line Westgate Platform. From there, walk west to Berry Street. Head north on Berry then walk east on Territorial Road. There is also a service driveway just to the east of the Westgate Platform. Head one block north through the Westgate complex and you’ll see us on the right.
● By Car: From Minneapolis, take 94 East to 280 (left exit 236). Follow signs for University Avenue. Turn left on Territorial Road and then right on Westgate Drive. From St. Paul, take 94 West to University-280 (exit 236) continue on Cromwell and take a left on Territorial Rd.
Mainline, MAP’s syringe exchange program, will continue to operate in downtown Minneapolis and will be moving to Gethsemane Episcopal Church at 905 S 4th Ave just blocks from our former location.
MAP won’t be moved into our new location until April 11, so there’s plenty of time to update your address book. Again, our new address will be: 2577 Territorial Road, St. Paul, MN 55114. In addition, MAP’s phone numbers and email addresses will be staying the same. If you have any questions or need help finding us after we move in mid-April, please call the reception desk at 612-341-2060.