Babs Siperstein PROUD Center Adds PrEP Counselor

The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, the first hospital in New Jersey to offer specialized primary care services for the LGBTQIA community, has expanded its HIV prevention services with the addition of a Preexposure Prophylactics (PrEP) Counselor.

Shayne Judge is an advocate and health educator with a demonstrated history of working in LGBTQ+ health with diverse populations. As PrEP Counselor, Ms. Judge offers personalized education and risk reduction counseling for patients and encourages individuals to advocate for themselves to get the care they deserve. She works to educate patients about PrEP, postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV prevention methods while connecting them with resources to assist with cost of medication. She also serves as support for PrEP patients by facilitating group and individual counseling.

PrEP is an anti-HIV medication used to prevent HIV-negative people from becoming HIV positive. PrEP is a single pill used daily that reduces an individual’s risk of HIV infection by 92 percent if taken properly and is meant to be used in combination with other prevention methods to provide greater protection.

The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center also offers Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), an antiretroviral medication used after high-risk contact with an HIV-positive individual to prevent an individual from becoming infected. It is only effective within the first 72 hours of exposure.

“HIV remains one of the top public health concerns for the LGBTQIA community, and the addition of Shayne to the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center allows us to better serve our patients as we continue our HIV prevention efforts,” said Sameh Abdelaal, MD, Medical Director of the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center. “Shayne is a passionate advocate for the community and her previous experience in sexual health education makes her a strong asset to our team.”

Ms. Judge previously worked at Rutgers University H.O.P.E as a sexual health advocate and HIV tester/counselor and interned for the Masakhane Center, a sexuality education non-profit based in Newark. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public health with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

The Babs Siperstein PROUD Center, which opened in 2017, was the first in New Jersey to provide specialized primary care services for the LGBTQIA community. Services include hormone therapy and monitoring; HIV care; referrals for specialty services; health education and counseling. The center, located at 128 Rehill Ave, Suite 1100, Somerville, which is open 5 days a week, also includes an advanced practice nurse and patient navigator.

To schedule an appointment with the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center, call 855-PROUD-FH or 908-243-8647. For more information visit: www.rwjbh.org/somersetproud.