DeeJay Johannessen

The Health Education Learning Project (HELP) announced the opening of a new Center for LGBT Health and Wellness in Fort Worth. The Center’s first program — a clinic offering free access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) — will open on July 11. HELP’s Executive Director, DeeJay Johannessen, said that the Center’s clinic will operate under a model of care pioneered by the KIND Clinic in Austin.

Under the “KIND Model,” individuals can access PrEP and PEP services for free, regardless of whether they have insurance. The Center will be open on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

PrEP is a daily medication, endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a powerful HIV prevention tool.” When taken as directed, PrEP (brand name Truvada), has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by up to 92 percent.

“The retail cost for PrEP is more than $1500 per month, which obviously is a barrier for many people,” Johannessen said. “Our program at HELP’s new Center can eliminate that barrier.” HELP’s Center will be the second clinic in Tarrant county specifically designed to provide PrEP services but will be the only clinic in North Texas providing access to PrEP without charge. The Tarrant County Health Department opened a PrEP clinic in 2016.

The Center initially will be located within HELP’s offices at 1717 S. Main Street and will move to a new space as programs and resources grow. The Center’s mission is designed to address essential community resources for the LGBT community in Tarrant County. Additional programming at the Center will be determined by a community advisory committee of LGBT residents in Tarrant County.

Individuals interested in accessing PrEP services through the HELP Center should call 817-332-7722 to schedule an intake.