Earlier this month, HRC Arkansas led an LGBTQ cultural competency training for the Arkansas Health Department’s Community Connectors at the Inaugural “PrEP to Live Brunch.” PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a once-daily pill regimen that can help you stay HIV-negative.
The event was the first public event for the Arkansas PrEP Task Force, which is co-chaired by HRC Arkansas State Director, Kendra R. Johnson, and Cornelius Mabin, Arkansas HIV Planning Group Chair and the Executive Director of Arkansas RAPPS. The “PrEP to Live Brunch” also featured a presentation on PrEP as well as some of the barriers to accessing PEP in the Natural State. PEP is an HIV prevention strategy that involves taking HIV medications immediately after a single high-risk event, such as condomless sex with a partner whose HIV status you do not know.
The Arkansas PrEP Task Force began training with Community Connectors as a first step toward making sure that both LGBTQ cultural competency and PrEP literacy are integral parts of the state health department’s HIV education and prevention efforts. Moving forward, the Task Force plans to establish a free PrEP clinic in each of the Arkansas Health Department’s five regions, organize grand rounds presentations about PrEP for medical professionals, and create a statewide education campaign focused on PrEP and PEP.
The task force is currently comprised of representatives from the Arkansas Health Department, Better Community Development, Latinx Revolucion LGBTQ, Part of the Solution and the University of Arkansas’ Medical Sciences College of Public Health. The Task Force's next major initiative will occur on June 27 and 28 in observance of National HIV Testing Day. Task force members will be at five Walgreen’s locations across the state providing free testing and information about PrEP.