A vehicle for care and advice in the community

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The University of Miami’s green and orange colors add a bit of contrast to the otherwise all-black truck, which sits in a parking lot in a Miami neighborhood. A visitor to the truck has entered for information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and stays to get advice on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) from one of the education navigators working at the clinic.

This truck is a mobile clinic created by the University of Miami, and it travels to various areas of Miami-Dade County to provide STI care, HIV care and HIV prevention to people who may be at risk and may not be. seek medical attention.

“It gives us the opportunity to go to neighborhoods that may not have PrEP services in place,” Susanne Doblecki-Lewis, MD, MSPH, FIDSA, professor of clinical medicine and director of prevention of HIV, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Doblecki-Lewis leads UM’s PrEP outreach.

Like many urban areas in the United States, Miami has struggled with high HIV incidence rates. In 2018, Miami had the second highest rate of HIV infection in U.S. cities behind Baton Rouge according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2019, there were 25,671 people living with HIV in Miami-Dade, and 1,170 people were newly diagnosed with HIV that year.

“We hope that based on the barriers we’ve encountered for PrEP – and we’ve studied here in Miami – our goal is to overcome some of those barriers in one step by completely redesigning the clinical environment,” Doblecki said. -Lewis.

The mobile clinic is equipped with an examination room, a phlebotomy station, a sample collection point and a counseling area. The clinic often has afternoon and evening hours to accommodate people who wish to come after work.

“We try to make it welcoming and quick,” Doblecki-Lewis said. “Speed ​​is one of our main principles. We don’t want people to spend a lot of time getting these services.

The clinic also tries to eliminate the stigma associated with some health department clinics, and the service is free, Doblecki-Lewis explained.

The PrEP clinic enjoys some corporate sponsorship, and Doblecki-Lewis credits the Navigators’ passion for maintaining the clinic. “They are at the heart of the program; they’re the ones who make it work, ”Doblecki-Lewis said.

Contagion recently spoke with Doblecki-Lewis about the genesis of the clinic, how they decide on different mobile sites, who they reach in the community and how they ensure a continuum of care for the patients they serve.

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