Patients who are concerned they may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection may favor urgent care over their “regular” doctor due to both the convenience and relative anonymity of this setting. Recognizing that such patients are likely to have engaged in unsafe sex practices, should any related counseling routinely include discussion of pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV (PrEP)? Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care apparently thinks so, as the company is pledging to include discussion of PrEP when counseling patients who present for evaluation of a suspected STI as part of a collaboration with New York State to promote its recent PrEP Aware Week. While PrEP has been shown to be 99% effective in preventing HIV, its challenging dosing regimen and the need for follow-up have discouraged many urgent care operators from offering it. Those that do are now watching what happens with class-action lawsuits filed against the company that markets PrEP, alleging that patients who took it experienced sometimes dangerous side effects or that it was ineffective. While a reasonable defense against the latter charge is that compliance is often an issue with patients who take PrEP, no one wants to be involved in litigation. JUCM offers an analysis of this very topic in our December issue. You can read New Lawsuits Re-Examine Prescribing of Prep in Urgent Care on our website now.
Should PrEP Be Part of the Discussion When Patients Present with Suspected STIs? One Urgent Care Operator Thinks So