SETAC begins Free PREP in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

setac Prep

SETAC begins Free PREP in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. If you are approved this program will provide you a free supply of PRep. What is required to be enrolled in the program? First, contact the Puerto Vallarta SETAC office and make an appointment with the staff doctor Mauricio Renteria. Dr. Renteria will give you a consultation about Prep in English or Spanish and arrange for initial rapid HIV and sexually transmitted disease tests for pre-approval. Bring your Residency Card and light bill. After the initial consultation and pre-approval, you must return to the SETAC office for a 3rd and 4th generation HIV test.  Once the supply of medication is in stock, pre-approval to actually having PREP in hand it is about 30 days. The first supply is for 30 days and thereafter a 90 day supply of PREP is provided, with the patient returning every 90 days for counseling, blood checkups and testing for a continual re-supply. 

Who can enroll in the program? Mexican nationals and full time residents of Puerto Vallarta, including those with a temporary or permanent resident card.  The main qualification for non Mexicans is full time residency in Puerto Vallarta, as you must return every 3 month for tests and periodic checkups.

The PREP program is being funded by the United Nations International Drug Purchase Facility (Unitaid).  3000 persons are tentatively approved for Mexico, with hopefully 300 or more from Puerto Vallarata. The U.N. agency has been allotted  more than $26 million to spend on the pilot project that includes Mexico, Brazil and Peru. It is slated to continue through 2020. Bay Area-based Gilead Sciences is donating the drug. A total of 7,500 people will be enrolled in the project over the three countries. It is expected to save those countries a total of $20 million in HIV treatment costs, according to the Pan American Health Organization. SETAC hopes the program will result in Mexico providing Prep as a prevention to HIV rather than a treatment after the fact. A concept Mexico has not traditionally accepted says Arjona. 

Paco Arjona, Director of the Puerto Vallarta SETAC LGBT Community Center, told the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter that the effort to bring the PrEP program to Mexico took a year and a half, hampered by slow-moving Mexican government bureaucracies. The program began last week with client interviews and the PrEP cities hope to receive the drug soon. In response to an email query from the B.A.R., Unitaid representative Heather Leigh responded that the drugs are to arrive at the PrEP sites “in the next week or so.” Although the program is scheduled to run through 2020, if shown successful, HIV health advocates hope it will continue beyone 2020. Paco stressed that all sexual activity should include the use of condoms. Prep is not a reason to stop using condoms. Lastly, Paco states the Mexican PrEP program, unlike Brazil and Peru, includes transgender and sex workers as Mexico has a higher number of both. 

In addition to  SETAC in Puerto Vallarta,  PrEP programs are in Mexico City at Clinica Condesa, Mexico Vivo and Inspira and in Guadalajara at Checos. Oaxaca was supposed to get PrEP but the earthquake in February destroyed the facility that was going to administer the program. 

SETAC is a non profit organization devoted to eradicating HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Banderas Bay, Nayarit, through education and behavior modification that encourages responsible sexual health decisions. They have programs like rapid HIV and Syphilis testing, Pilot PREP program, condom distribution, sex education and disease prevention workshops, and psychological counseling to those living with HIV. 

Location Aldanaca 178 esq. Viena Interior 4-A , Col.Versalles Hours Mon-Fri 12 noon until 8pm  Sat 9am to 2 pm.





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