LITTLETON – The New Hampshire Executive Council on Wednesday approved contracts to renew the state’s Early Intervention Services (EIS) for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) program with a bipartisan 4-0 vote. The contracts, which were awarded to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) and Equality Health Center, will allow at-risk populations to continue accessing critical preventative services, including HIV testing, substance use treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Councilors Mike Cryans, (D-Hanover), Andru Volinksy (D-Concord), Russell Prescott (R-Kingston), and Debora Pignatelli (D-Nashua) all voted in favor of the contracts; Councilor Ted Gatsas (R-Manchester) abstained from voting on the contracts.
The Early Intervention Services for HIV program was initially developed in 2017, at a time when emergent public health trends showed a worrisome increase in statewide rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This uptick in STDs coincided with the state’s substance misuse disorder crisis. These contracts will be effective until June 30, 2021.
In particular, this program allows PPNNE to administer pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to at-risk patients. PrEP is a prevention intervention in which HIV-uninfected people take a daily dose of antiretroviral medication to lower their chances of acquiring HIV. PrEP has been proven effective among MSM (men who have sex with men), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance on its use in this population. Other recent studies have shown PrEP to be effective among at-risk heterosexual men and women.
Moreover, due to Gov. Sununu’s recent veto of the state budget, there is currently no state funding for the state HIV/STD prevention program. These contracts will allow some of these services to be offered while budget writers negotiate with the governor.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund:
“We are thankful that the Executive Council has continued its bipartisan tradition of supporting funding for positive public health outcomes by approving contracts for the state’s Early Intervention Services for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) program. These contracts will allow Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to continue providing critical preventative services, including HIV testing, substance use treatment, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), resulting in healthier communities.”
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last year we saw nearly 14,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. Follow us on Twitter. PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC).