Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 as the country's first HIV prevention strategy. The drug referred to as 'PrEP,' stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the drug when taken consistently can reduce the contraction of HIV by up to 92%.
Bakersfield local Robert Peterson began taking Truvada in 2015 after learning about the drug. Like many, Peterson grew up in the early years of the AIDS epidemic and witnessed many of his loved ones pass away from the disease.
The CDC says people in high-risk categories for contracting the virus includes one in five gay and bisexual men as well as one in 200 heterosexual adults but local Kern County physician Dr. Frank Lang says HIV impacts everyone.
"The more someone might be at risk the more important it is for someone to be on the medicine, but the reality is anybody can be at risk if you're having sex at all you can get infected with HIV," said Lang.
Martha Warriner Jarrett agrees with Dr. Lang. The 72-year-old Jarrett found out she was HIV positive three years ago after she entered the hospital in respiratory failure. Jarrett believes she contracted HIV from her late husband.
"That's one thing my story shows, you never know whether you're at risk or not, " said Jarrett.
According to the Kern County Department of Public Health, the county has some of the highest STD rates in California . Research shows Truvada may help reduce STD rates because in order to be prescribed the drug you must have a full blood panel performed by a physician. Those blood panels may identify STDs the person is unaware they had.
Here is the link for resources at Kern County Public Health:
Here is the link for resources at Kaiser Permanente:
There will be a PrEP Seminar Wednesday May 30th for anyone interested in learning more about the Truvada. The seminar is will be held in Grace Hall at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on 17th and B st. The seminar is sponsored by Gilead Pharmaceuticals , who develop the drug. The event is free of charge and dinner will be provided to the first 200 people that register by May 25th, 2018. The email for registration is bg10306@yahoo,com.