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Briefs: PrEP study; Point opens applications; Social workers to be honored
by Matt Simonette

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Low infection rates in new PrEP study

A study released Nov. 16 that followed 557 men who have sex with men ( MSM ) and transgender women who use pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, showed low HIV infection rates among the cohort.

The study was conducted from October, 2012, through February, 2015, at two STI clinics in San Francisco and Miami, as well as a community clinic in Washington, D.C., and was intended to measure subjects' adherence, sexual practice and overall effectiveness. The findings appear in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The PrEP intervention is mainly available in the U.S. as the oral medication Truvada.

Of the 557 participants, 437 persons—about 78.5 percent—were retained for 48 weeks. Medication levels were checked in the blood work of 294 persons; of those people, 80-85.6 percent retained protective levels in their bloodstream. African-American participants ( 56.8 percent of visits ) were less likely to retain protective levels, according to the authors. Individuals who reported stable housing ( 86.8 percent ) and those reporting at least 2 condomless anal sex partners ( 88.6 percent ) in the previous three months were more likely to have protective levels of medication.

The authors said that the infection rate for other STIs was high among the cohort. Two individuals became infected with HIV, but researchers found that the level of medication in their bloodstream was consistent with fewer than two doses a week.

A number of health agencies, advocates and service providers have called for widespread availability of PrEP to combat new HIV infections. Adherence to the medication is integral in its use, and Truvada users are instructed to take the medication every day. The study's authors concluded that addressing racial and geographic disparities, as well as housing instability, among at-risk individuals may increase the impact of PrEP.

The study appears at

Point Foundation seeks new applicants

LGBTQ students seeking financial assistance for their undergraduate or graduate school education are encouraged to apply for a Point Foundation Scholarship.

Point Foundation ( Point ) is the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit and currently provides financial assistance and programmatic support to 85 students. Students enrolling in undergraduate or graduate programs for the 2016-2017 academic year are eligible to apply for Point's multiyear scholarship.

Applications are now open online at

Students may submit Part I of the application until 11:59 p.m. PST Jan. 19, 2016. Qualified applicants will be invited to submit Part II of the application, which will open from Nov. 2, 2015, until 11:59 p.m. PST February 1, 2016.

Social workers to receive national honor

The American Family Therapy Association ( AFTA ) will recognize Live Oak Chicago's co-founders, Jeff Levy and Bruce Koff, at its annual conference in June 2016.

They will receive AFTA's 2016 Distinguished Contribution to Social Justice Award.

Levy and Koff will be honored for their career-long contributions in developing and advancing mental-health/social-work education, training and counseling services to address the needs and concerns of LGBTQ individuals, couples and families.

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