Switchboard receives grant from TSR for $10,000

Switchboard is pleased to announce it has being awarded a $ 10,000 gift from TSR Adventures Inc, producer of The SMART Ride, a 2-day, 165 mile bicycle ride from Miami to Key West every November. These funds will start a dedicated, tri-lingual, 24/7 PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) Helpline for South Florida, with particular emphasis on Miami-Dade County.

Of the 94,775 HIV test performed in 2014 in Miami Dade County, 1,433 were positive. In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to be used for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). “When taken every day, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection in people who are at high risk, by more than 90%” (AIDS.gov). In a recent meeting, the Miami Collaborative (MSM workgroup) identified a great need for a helpline dedicated to answering questions about PrEP. Switchboard of Miami will provide this service.

The PrEP Helpline will offer a telephone number that will enable callers to receive answers to their questions, and receive referrals regarding PrEP and other related concerns, at any time of the day or night. Compassionate, culturally sensitive staff members who have received PrEP/PeP navigation training, will be available to ensure that callers who have inquiries, or concerns about PrEP, will get confidential, reliable services.

In addition, the PrEP line would serve to augment the work of local HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention organizations. A phone-based PrEP Helpline would offer added layers of convenience and anonymity, as well as another pathway to meet the preferences of those in need. The PrEP Helpline would also serve as a referral source to these important community organizations and clinics.

Switchboard President and CEO, Catherine F. Penrod: “Aligned with our mission to counsel, connect and empower people in need”, TSR Adventures funding to start a PrEP Helpline would continue this legacy of responding to community needs, and would help South Floridians gain critical information about preventing HIV infection.

The SMART Ride will take place November 18th & 19th, for more info we encourage you to go to www.thesmartride.org.