The Corner, part of a new initiative by Memphis HIV/Aids service organization Friends for Life, is set to open December 1 at 806 Cooper in Cooper-Young.
Though Friends for Life has been careful not to call it a clinic, the Corner will be staffed with medical professionals and offer a range of health services, including a pharmacy, STI screenings, and access to pre- and post-exposure HIV preventive meds. These services are offered regardless of insurance status.
The Corner is the first of three such centers plus a mobile facility that Friends for Life hopes to open in the coming years. They are part of the 35-year-old nonprofit’s effort to prevent the spread of HIV and help those affected by HIV/AIDS live full productive lives.
Shelby County currently ranks 8th in the country for new HIV infections, with more than 200 annually. This despite advances in medicine that make the HIV not just survivable but preventable. PrEP, a drug taken daily by people at high risk for infection, has proven 99 percent effective at preventing HIV. Similarly, PEP, taken after exposure, helps stop the disease after exposure.
However, as a recent Center for Disease Control study pointed out, there are significant barriers around income and race that prevent widespread adoption of those drugs among those most at risk in the Mid-South. The Corner looks to eliminate those barriers by offering metabolic panel required to get PrEP and PEP as well as the drugs themselves for free.
Currently the Corner is accepting appointments. After its grand opening December 1, walk-ins will be welcome. For more information or to book an appointment, contact Eric Paul Leue, Friends for Life’s director of prevention, at eric.leue@FFLmemphis.org. — Mark Jordan