Members of the Latina transgender community in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of the D.C. Department of Health)
Members of the Latina transgender community in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of the D.C. Department of Health)

D.C.’s Department of Health has launched a campaign to educate the city’s transgender community about the importance of taking a daily pill to help prevent transmissions of HIV.

Preexposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, a pill approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, can help prevent the HIV infection.

According to a 2017 report by the department’s HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA), 12,964 city residents live with HIV.

“It’s important to educate the transgender community, as well as to break barriers and taboos about taking PrEP, and understand the real benefits of taking it, especially to prevent HIV,” said Alexa Rodriguez, director of Trans-Latin@ DMV. “The D.C. Department of Health’s efforts to benefit the transgender community are a big step, but there is still a lot to be done.”

Rodriguez brought the Latin transgender community together with the health department for the “Pledge to be PrEPared” campaign launched last month, in hopes of giving them a platform to communicate their values and needs, as well as their role in society.

Rodriguez said the transgender community’s participation in the campaign ranged from strategic planning and focus groups to the inclusion of real transgender Latina women in the promotional materials.

This resulted in trusted messages in hopes of building trust among this community when deciding to take PrEP, as well as understanding its benefits, Rodriguez said.

Michael Kharfen, HAHSTA’s senior deputy director, agreed.

“We are pleased to introduce this campaign created in collaboration with the transgender community, but we understand these are just the first steps, and that there is more to do in order to fulfill our commitment and dedication to supporting this significant community residing in Washington, D.C.,” Kharfen said.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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