Southwest Care Center is dedicated to decreasing the new infection rate of HIV to zero in our community. We know that the best way to do this is to offer effective prevention options to our patients and our community. As a patient of Southwest Care Center, you can have discussions with our team about what options are available to you. We are a place of inclusion and compassion. We respect everyone’s right to be informed and to have care tailored to their unique needs.
Southwest Care Center is proud to offer PrEP to its patients. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (or PrEP) has been shown to dramatically lower the chances of getting infected with the HIV virus. PrEP works by preventing the virus from taking hold in the body and can be highly effective for HIV prevention when taken as prescribed.
PrEP involves taking a single tablet, which is a combination of two medicines, tenofovir and emtricitabine, commonly marketed and sold under the name Truvada®. The FDA has approved Truvada® for daily use in HIV-negative adults and adolescents who weigh at least 35 kg (about 77 lbs.).
Daily PrEP treatment reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact by more than 90% and it reduces the risk by more than 70% for those who use injection drugs. Combining PrEP with other safe sex methods (especially condom use) can further reduce your risk of getting HIV.
Southwest CARE Center’s PrEP program is a “one-stop shop” for your PrEP and sexually-transmitted infection (STI) needs. By becoming a patient of our PrEP program, you will get routine HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening every 3 months, treatment for STIs if needed at any time, and access to PrEP at our in-house pharmacy or local pharmacy of your choice. Our dedicated PrEP Navigators can also help you obtain medication and treatment as affordable as possible.
Call 505-955-9454 today to get started!
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
If you have recently been exposed to HIV, we can evaluate you for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which consists of a month of a 3-drug HIV regimen. It is most effective when taken within 72 hours from the exposure to HIV. Possible reasons to warrant PEP:
Unprotected sex with a person who is HIV positive and not on treatment, or with a person of an unknown HIV status
Broken condom during sex with a person who is HIV positive and not on treatment, or with a person of an unknown HIV status
Southwest CARE Center can see you today to evaluate your risk and prescribe optimal PEP therapy if you have had an exposure. Please call 505-955-9454 as soon as possible. Do not wait- PEP therapy must be started within 72 hours of exposure to be most effective at preventing HIV.
Other Ways to Protect Yourself From HIV
HIV is transmitted through contact with infected blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk. HIV is most easily spread through receptive anal sex (bottoming), vaginal sex, and sharing needles and preparation equipment for injection drugs, but can also be spread by insertive anal sex (topping) and oral sex. Whether you are HIV-positive or not, you should always take precautions to protect yourself.
Our care providers and researchers have been working with HIV patients for over 20 years, and we would like to share the following steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV or spreading the infection to others:
Know your HIV status. Anyone who is sexually active or shares equipment for injection drug use should be tested for HIV at least once. If you are at ongoing risk for HIV, you should consider being tested for HIV at least once a year. To discuss your risk for HIV, please make an appointment with one of our trained testing counselors by calling 505-955-9454.
Locate an HIV testing site. Get your HIV test results in 20 minutes or less. Rapid HIV testing is available in Santa Fe and Albuquerque at our Harkle and Jefferson locations.
To discuss how you can protect yourself from HIV infection, please make an appointment for HIV testing with one of Southwest CARE Center’s trained testing counselors by calling 505-955-9454. Outreach
Get tested and treated. Get tested for STIs and encourage your partners to do so also. If you test positive for an STI, get treatment as soon as possible. Many STIs are 100% treatable with simple antibiotics.
Abstain from sexual activity or be in a long-term monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner or an HIV-infected partner whose viral load is consistently undetectable on antiretroviral therapy.
Talk to your sexual partner(s). Talking about sexual history, any sexual preferences, STIs, HIV, and testing can help protect you and any potential partner(s). It’s also a good way to learn more about your partner(s) and your relationship(s).
Avoid high-risk activities with partners of unknown HIV status.The activities with highest risk of contracting HIV are unprotected/condomless receptive anal or vaginal intercourse and the sharing of injection drug equipment.
Limit your number of sex partners. The fewer partners you have, the less likely you are to encounter someone who is infected with HIV or another sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Know how to correctly use condoms and be consistent in their use. Latex condoms are highly effective at preventing transmission of HIV and other STIs. “Natural” or lambskin condoms do not provide sufficient protection against HIV infection. If you or your partner is allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms are the best alternative.
Avoid sharing any of your needles or injection equipment with other people. It is recommended that you use a new needle and injection equipment (spoons, caps, cotton, etc.) every time you inject. For new needles, equipment, and containers to safely dispose of syringes, please visit one of New Mexico’s syringe exchange sites: NMDOH-HarmReduction. If you cannot access a syringe exchange site, syringes can be purchased over the counter at some pharmacies without a prescription.
Consider taking PrEP if you have ongoing exposure or high-risk exposure to HIV. Our dedicated PrEP Navigators can help you obtain PrEP as affordable as possible. Call 505-955-9454 today to get started!
Es Mejor Saber
Es Mejor Saber (It’s Better to Know) is an award-winning bilingual HIV and hepatitis C prevention campaign which focuses on the importance of testing for the Latino/Hispano population of New Mexico.
The intent of the program is to provide rapid HIV and HCV testing in order to reach those who are positive before their illness becomes life threatening, engage them in treatment and educate them on measures to prevent transmission. Learn more about Es Mejor Saber: Outreach