Offering prevention services for those at risk for HIV, and outpatient services for those living with it

By Hedda Fay, Community Outreach Manager, Northland Cares

As Northland Cares celebrates 20 years of service to the people of Yavapai County, members of the organization want to remind locals that rural counties across the country have seen significant increases of HIV in the past decade. In 2019, for example, Yavapai County experienced a 275% increase in new HIV diagnoses. In general, rural counties are experiencing increases in HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections due to lack of resources and people believing the false narrative that these are “big city” problems.

Women: 85 percent of all new HIV cases among heterosexual women are from an unprotected sexual encounter. Also, there are men who identify as heterosexual who also have sex with men. These men identify as MSM, (men who have sex with men); they do not identify as gay or bisexual and will enter a “committed monogamous relationship” with women.

We offer excellent prevention services with Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

How can exposure happen? Yavapai County is fourth out of 15 for opioid abuse and overdoses in Arizona. That means people may encounter discarded used syringes in shared, public spaces. Other types of possible HIV exposure include condom breaks, accidental needle sticks, and being the victim of sexual assault by a person with an unknown HIV status.

If someone with an exposure can receive the PEP medicine within 72 hours, the medicine can prevent them from becoming HIV positive, even after a direct exposure.

Northland Cares offers weekend and holiday on-call PEP and have staff who will respond to an emergency.  Reach them at the on-call number: 928.910.6707.

Northland Cares also offers in-person and telehealth PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis), an amazing tool to prevent HIV transmission. PrEP services are provided in person, and we also have a Tele-PrEP program, where people throughout Yavapai County can access these services from the privacy of their home or office.  Our Tele-PrEp clients receive a self-collection lab kit, mailed to their home or office, where Northland Cares staff use dried blood plasma and dried blood technology to test for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, HIV, Syphilis, Creatinine, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.  This allows people to do the lab work in the privacy or their home, dorm, or office.  They also get to have a private medical appointment from their phone or computer. Tele-PrEP clients get individualized PrEP Navigation, which is like having their own Medical Case Manager. To access Tele-PrEP services, click on the QR code and be transported immediately to Northland Cares’ telehealth services. We have recently partnered with Pride Life to provide people with insurance in addition to prevention.

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