Up to 200,000 uninsured people may soon have access to HIV prevention medication
(CNN) — Hundreds of thousands of uninsured people may soon have access to medication meant to curb the HIV epidemic.
President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced on Twitter that the administration has worked with biotechnology company Gilead to secure a donation of an HIV prevention drug.
Truvada is a PrEP or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which can prevent transmission of HIV to those at risk of acquiring infection.
The donation “will help us achieve our goal of ending the HIV epidemic in America,” Trump tweeted.
Gilead said in a press release on Thursday that the company has agreed to provide up to 2.4 million bottles of the drug Truvada annually to the Center for Disease Control. The drug will go to “uninsured Americans at risk for HIV,” the release said.
That will amount to supplying about 200,000 individuals annually for up to 11 years, Azar tweeted.
While 1.1 million Americans are at risk for HIV, only about 200,000 currently receive Truvada, according to Gilead. Without insurance, the drug can run about $1,500 a month.
“Broader usage among at-risk populations is hampered by significant social and structural barriers, such as HIV stigma, homophobia, limited awareness of PrEP among providers and patients, and overall lack of access to healthcare,” Gilead said.
In the State of the Union address in February, President Trump called for the elimination of HIV transmissions in the United States by 2030.
“We believe today’s donation, combined with efforts to address the root causes of the epidemic, such as racism, violence against women, stigma, homophobia and transphobia, can play an important role in ending the HIV epidemic in the United States, particularly in parts of the country with the highest burden of disease,” Gilead said.