Health Department Launches Campaign to Promote HIV Prevention Services For Women

Health Department staff will conduct one-on-one visits with hundreds of women’s health care providers to educate them about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of HIV

Providers will receive a PrEP and PEP Action Kit, updated to better address the needs of cisgender and transgender women and their providers

The campaign aims to raise awareness of women’s services and accelerate the dramatic reduction in new HIV diagnoses among women

several prep brochures are propped up on a desk

May 13, 2019 — The Health Department announced a new PrEP and PEP public health “detailing” campaign — one-on-one educational visits with providers — focused on women’s health care providers in New York City, including family planning providers, obstetricians and gynecologists, and primary care providers.

The providers will receive an updated PrEP and PEP Action Kit with tools to support them in delivering comprehensive HIV prevention services, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a safe and effective daily pill that greatly reduces the risk of HIV infection, and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), emergency medication for HIV-negative people who may have been exposed to HIV. Previous cycles of the campaign prioritized practices that recently diagnosed HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), as well as neighborhoods most affected by HIV. Thus far, the campaign has reached over 2,500 providers at more than 1,300 clinical sites across New York City.

“It is so important that providers are educated about ways to deliver HIV prevention services, including PrEP and PEP, to cisgender and transgender women in New York City,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “This new campaign and PrEP and PEP Action Kit will let women know that there are a variety of options available to them to have healthy and safe sex lives.”

“Our new PrEP and PEP detailing campaign focused on women’s health care providers is the Health Department’s latest effort to address the HIV and sexual health needs of women in New York City,” said Dr. Oni Blackstock, Assistant Commissioner for the Health Department’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control. “While past work has focused on raising awareness of PrEP and PEP among women, it is imperative that we engage and educate their providers, too. Family planning providers, obstetricians/gynecologists, and primary care providers must be well-versed in taking a through sexual history, screening and treating for sexually transmitted infections, and discussing and prescribing PrEP and PEP — all in a culturally affirming manner that empowers women to take control of their sexual health. Our new campaign is designed to do just that.”

For this campaign, the Health Department tailored PrEP and PEP Action Kit materials to address the needs of cisgender and transgender women and their providers, and to include images from "Living Sure,” the Health Department’s sexual health marketing campaign encouraging women to consider PrEP as part of their sexual health plan in New York City. The PrEP and PEP Action Kit and visits support several core HIV prevention practices that providers can adopt, including:

  • Taking a thorough sexual history from all patients as part of routine medical care, including asking about their sexual partners’ HIV status, and experience of intimate partner violence and transactional sex, which are associated with increased risk of HIV and STIs.

  • Screening and treating patients for STIs based on sexual history and clinical guidelines and offering PrEP to HIV-negative cisgender and transgender women if they receive a diagnosis of gonorrhea or early syphilis, as these STIs signal increased HIV risk among women.

  • Discussing PrEP and PEP with HIV-negative patients at ongoing risk of HIV exposure and with HIV-positive patients who may have HIV-positive partners.

  • Prescribing PrEP and PEP according to clinical guidelines or referring patients to sites that provide PrEP and PEP.

In 2017, only 23% of sexually active Black and/or Latina women in New York City were aware of PrEP, compared to 90% of gay and bisexual men and other MSM. Additionally, the New York State Ending the Epidemic Dashboard shows that from January 2018 to June 2018, there were only 1,364 females with a PrEP prescription in New York City compared to 16,494 among males, as reported to Source Healthcare Analytics (Symphony) and the Medicaid Data Warehouse.

Last year, the Health Department announced that 2,157 New Yorkers had been newly diagnosed with HIV in 2017, down 5.4 percent from 2016 and down 6% from 2001 when HIV case reporting began in New York State. The number of women newly diagnosed with HIV in New York City continues to decline, too; in 2017, 449 women, including cisgender and transgender women, were newly diagnosed, an 11.6% decrease from 2016.

“We are very excited to partner with the New York City Health Department on this PrEP and PEP detailing campaign focused on women’s health care providers,” said Maryellen Lively, Program Director at OnCall, and a representative from the PrEP and PEP detailing team. “I’ve seen first-hand how public health detailing can change providers’ understanding and comfort around prescribing PrEP. And now we will take this message to providers who can affect the lives of women.”

“PrEP is an incredible tool in the fight against HIV, and chief among our responsibilities as health care providers is sending the resounding and direct message that PrEP is an option for all women, specifically women of color and transgender women, who are disproportionately at risk of HIV,” said Dena Kranzberg, WHNP-BC, Director of Training at Planned Parenthood of New York City. “This inclusive and powerful campaign comes at an important moment in our efforts to end the epidemic. It’s essential that providers understand PrEP is for all people at high risk of HIV, and that they know how to talk to women about the importance of PrEP to prevent HIV. As we grapple with disproportionately high HIV rates among Black and Latina women, it is our responsibility to ensure all women know about and have access to PrEP – and this campaign helps us do that important educational work in our communities.”

“PrEP is a tool of immense value in a woman's sexual health arsenal,” said Fleur De Kine, a woman who takes PrEP and a PrEP advocate. “Information about PrEP should be readily available without the roadblocks of stigma and judgment from providers, educators, or anyone a person might turn to for care, regardless of that person’s demographics. PrEP might not be right for everyone, but everyone should have the ability to make an informed decision for themselves.”

“PrEP and PEP are amazing resources in the fight against HIV and it’s of vital importance that our communities understand how they can use these treatments to maintain their health,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “This initiative is targeted to providers to help cisgender and transgender women receive quality sexual health education and to ensure that HIV diagnoses continue to decline among that population. I thank the Health Department and Commissioner Barbot for all that they are doing to combat this disease and raise awareness on this important public health issue.”

“The Health Department's new initiative to conduct proactive HIV prevention and educational outreach to women’s health care providers will help realize the City’s ambitious goal of ending the AIDS epidemic here,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health. “While the number of new HIV infections among women in the city is on the decline, far too many female patients in high-risk categories remain unaware of effective preventive measures like PrEP and PEP medications. This initiative will help accelerate the dramatic reduction in HIV transmissions among women in New York City.”

“The NYC Health Department’s new initiative to work directly with women’s health care providers across the city is another example of its incredible efforts to combat HIV and ensure that New Yorkers of all backgrounds have access to care,’ said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Committee on Women. “The partnership between the DOH, Mayor’s Office, City Council, healthcare providers, and community-based organizations has made all the difference, and we will not stop until the day all of our communities see an end to HIV-related deaths.”

Ending the Epidemic
The Health Department’s PrEP and PEP detailing campaign focusing on women’s health care providers is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s NYC Ending the Epidemic plan, which includes a $23 million investment to increase access to HIV prevention services, including PrEP and PEP; promote innovative, optimal treatment for all New Yorkers with HIV; enhance methods for tracing HIV transmission; and improve access to comprehensive, affirming sexual health care for all New Yorkers through targeted outreach to priority populations and enhancements to the City’s Sexual Health Clinics. Underlying these efforts is a commitment to racial equity and social justice to reduce HIV-related disparities and health inequities.



Patrick Gallahue/Danielle De Souza: (347) 396-4177,